Honoring the food of my readers: Nepali dal-bhat-tarkari

I know very little about the country of Nepal. Its flag is not rectangular. It’s a landlocked and mountainous Asian country. That is about the extent of my knowledge.

The national dish which I chose to attempt is traditionally really spicy by Western tastes, especially for toddlers. I toned it down a lot, while still trying to hold on to the authentic feel of the meal. It has several components to it, but don’t let that deter you – I put dinner together in about 20 minutes with the help of my slow cooker, and some forward-planning for the pickle chutney.


What you will need:

  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, creamed
  • 2 ” piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2″ piece of fresh turmeric, grated
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt (optional if using salted butter)

How you can do it:

  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, where you can then safely cook on low heat for hours.
  2. Alternatively, fry the spices and seasonings with the onion in the ghee/butter in the base of a medium saucepan.
  3. Add the lentils and water, and cook for 45 minutes until softened.


What you will need:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup cornmeal

How you can do it:

  1. Combine ingredients and abundant water to slow cooker, and cook on low heat for hours.
  2. Alternatively, bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add the rice and cornmeal.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes or until soft.


What you will need:

  • 8 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp peppercorns, crushed

How you can do it:

  1. Blanch asparagus and broccoli in boiling water for 5 minutes before decanting them into ice (to bring out their color).
  2. Briefly fry all the remaining ingredients in a pan with the ghee or butter.

Golbheda ko achaar (Fermented tomato pickle)

What you will need:

  • 6 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1″ fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp walnut oil 
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds, crushed

How you can do it:

  1. Combine the top set of ingredients in a clean 30 fl oz glass jar, and cover with water.
  2. Leave on a shelf to ferment for at least 24 hours and up to three days. Ensure when you open it to finish the recipe that it smells tangy but not rotten.
  3. Strain off all the pickling liquid, and then blend the fermented foods in a processor.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sear the freshly crushed spices.
  5. Add the pickled tomato mixture to the hot pan and warm the achaar thoroughly.

To assemble:

If you have cute little ramekins, set the bhat in the center and surround it with the dal, tarkari, and achaar in separate dishes. Or, if not, just serve up a little bit of everything on a plate.

It can be garnished with sliced lemon (nibuwa) and lime (kagati) with fresh green pepper.

You can also put a little sprig of fresh cilantro or parsley.

Thank you, Nepali readers, and I hope you all enjoy this recipe.

From mine to yours,

Mumma Alsum

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