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11 October 2010

My Heart and My Hands

My heart and my mind have been here, friends. They have. I think about travel (the real and the virtual kind) and food (always the real kind ;)); they permeate my dreams. I'm always wondering what marvelous culinary concoction I'll discover next. Something I can share here. Something I can cook at home. My hands, however, have been entering quick text for program codes since Tuesday of last week. Hence the unplanned absence. If the posts seem a bit erratic (or rather, more erratic than usual), you now know why.

I'm trying not to get frustrated. You know how it is: you have all these plans, these ideas and they sit...right...there...just out of reach.

I had a couple of free minutes this morning, before the madness, so I'm going to eek out some tasty Tibetan tidbits :).

The main thing I'm discovering about Tibetan food is that it's spicy. As in HOT. They like their food on fire! Which is just fine with me. As long as it has flavor, I can handle the heat (well, that's almost true. There was this one time my husband doubled the curry in an Indian dish...).

Tibetan food has been influenced in some ways by it's neighbors, India and China, but it makes use of many ingredients that are indigenous to the Himalayan Mountains. Their cuisine is similar to that of Nepal (which we'll visit next). Barley seems to be a staple in Tibetan food and there are very few vegetables. Kind of hard to grow veg at 16,000 feet! The barley is made into a dough called tsampa and it is usually rolled into noodles or made into dumplings called momos. Yak, goat and mutton are commonly used in meat dishes. Meat is either dried (out in the elements where the extreme cold kills any bacteria) or stewed with with spices and potatoes. Mustard seed is grown in the country and is featured heavily in their cuisine. Also, yak butter, yogurt and cheese are eaten regularly. There is usually some dairy served at every meal.

So far, the most interesting item I've found is salted butter tea. From what I understand, black tea is boiled and then churned with yak butter and salt. They also make a sweet tea with black tea, fresh milk and sugar. I get the feeling the salted butter tea is faintly reminiscent of a cup of lassi I had in India*. If it is, my stomach is already turning somersaults. Still, it sounds interesting... now if I can just get my hands on some yak butter.

That's about all I have time for today! Not too shabby, huh? I'm off to clatter in some more code. Yay. Have a fabulous Monday and hopefully we'll soon be cooking up some Tibetan dishes and yak butter tea. Mmmmm...

Jen

*a side note about lassi. I have found multitudes of recipes for sweet mango lassi and I've heard countless testimonies of how yummy and refreshingly sweet lassi is. That's wonderful. I'm sure it is. However, I had salted lassi OR a similar drink called chaas. It is NOT sweet. It looked like homemade lemonade (cloudy, rather yellow, with stuff floating in it). It did not, however, taste like homemade lemonade. It tasted like a cup of the Atlantic mixed with soured milk.

10 comments:

Brian Miller said...

sweet! i love spicy food!

The Golden Eagle said...

Yak butter? Well, I suppose that would be a source of food! I just don't think of yaks as providing milk. :P

Erin Kuhns said...

This was a really fascinating post. I am very interested in Tibet yet I know very little about it (more now, though, thanks to you). :)

I once went to a Tibetan craft fair in Ottawa and the colours everywhere were so vibrant. The people were so friendly and sweet. It was most definitely very welcoming. I hope that Tibetans get their home back someday...

Jennifer said...

Okay, your side note disgusted me... Especially since it just gave me a bit of a flashback to earlier today when I ordered quesadillas and the sour cream seemed... Off... :\

But some of the stuff you described above sounds amazing. :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Hmm...I'll pass on the lassi. :)

I can handle spice if it's tasty too.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Haha- Lassi!!

Love spicy food! Have to try out Tibetan!

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Ummmm, Yak butter? Where does one find such a thing around here?

Jon said...

It was only one extra tablespoon of curry! We'll just say I lost count. ;p

I really hope we can find yak butter somewhere...

Elana Johnson said...

Tibet does not seem like the place for me. I like mild, and yak whatever? Um, no.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Salted butter tea - interesting! I'd try it...once.