It is hard not to fall in love with simple and tasty Nepali dishes. The best way to learn the secrets of the local cuisine is through a cooking class. The Nepali Cooking Course offered us an unforgettable experience in the green suburbs of the capital city. However, it is not just an ordinary cooking class in Kathmandu.
Are we really in Kathmandu?
Amrit, who is also a trekking guide, picks us up at our hotel in Thamel. On the way to his house in Lulang he tells us the story of the cooking classes his family provides. The idea comes from a Canadian couple who in 2008 supported Amrit to establish his business. They initially organized classes in Thamel (the heart of Kathmandu) but moved to the suburbs after the earthquake in 2015.
We arrive to Amrit’s humble home and we cannot believe we are still in Kathmandu. Everything around us is green and the only noise we hear comes from the nearby school. Amrit’s wife greets us with a cup of tea and the lesson can start. It is usually Amrit’s daughter Anu who gives classes but today she is at school.
What’s on the menu?
The best part of this cooking class in Kathmandu is that you get to eat it all! Anyway, as soon as we see the menu we get really excited as it contains a few dishes that we have already tried. Moreover, we have to participate actively. There is a lot of vegetables to cut, spices to grind and dough to mold.
To our great joy the whole menu is vegetarian. So this is what we are going to prepare:
1. Vegetarian momo – dumplings filled with various vegetables and spices, they are served either steamed or fried and they have different shapes.
2. Dal bhat – probably the most common Nepali dish that includes rice, lentil soup, spiced spinach, curry with vegetables, pickles and yogurt. Dal means lentils and bhat means rice.
3. Rice pudding with spices.
4. Celebration bread.
Inside a cooking class in Kathmandu
As we have mentioned, Nepali dishes are simple but as we find out soon the preparation is tricky. We are proud of ourselves after chopping all the vegetables but that is the easiest part. The magic is in toasting and grinding spices. It takes us a lot of time and energy to grind everything in the stone grinder. The first attempts to make nice momo dumplings are also a little bit clumsy. All this cooking leaves hungry and we literally devour all the momos. And man, aren’t they good!
With dal bhat every part is prepared separately. The lentil soup is boiled for a long time (about 1 hr and a half) and the curry has to be creamy. It is fascinating to watch Amrit’s wife work with the spices and ingredients. We bet she could cook even with her eyes closed. The result tastes better than in a restaurant.
Amrit also teaches us the Nepali style of eating. The secret is in mixing everything together and eating with your hands! It is the only way to feel all the flavours. Another important thing is not to waste anything. The remains of a meal can be used to prepare a new one.
We are totally full after the huge portion of momos and dhal but our cooking class in Kathmandu is not over yet. We move to the garden in front of Amrit’s house and enjoy the desserts. First, the delicious rice pudding. The rice has been cooked slowly with milk, grated coconut, sugar and spices (specifically cardamom, cinnamon and cloves).
Anu (who has come back from school in the meantime) shows us how to prepare the deep fried celebration bread in a traditional open air oven oven. Yet one more thing that looks more simple than it is. The bread is sweet and has a ring shape. The dough is carefully placed into the boiling oil and fried. Anu’s pieces are round and regular, ours look more like chicken nuggets. Nevermind, the dough is so delicious that we don’t really care about the shape.
Wait for the bonus
The food orgy is finally over and after the last cup of tea we say goodbye. We came to learn how to cook Nepali dishes and left with a bonus. The bonus has made an even stronger impression on us than the cooking itself. And what do we mean by bonus? The unforgettable experience of being a part of this Nepali family for one afternoon and tasting their hospitality. They let us peek into their lives and show us the Nepali mentality through their traditional meals. If you’re looking for more than just an average cooking class, then the Nepali Cooking Course will exceed your expectations.
To learn more, visit the website of the course: www.nepalicookingcourse.com.
Do you have any experience with the cooking classes around the world? Share it with us in the comments!
*The Nepali Cooking Course provided us with a complimentary cooking class. As always, all opinions and all photos are our own.*