Kate Heyhoe

Kate's Global Kitchen

by Kate Heyhoe


Kneading in Nepal


Dear Kate,

Please help! My son is doing a project on Nepal and wanted to serve his class some Nepalese cuisine. We found a few ideas (chiura, bhuja, and samosa), but can't find the recipes. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.


Dear EpRj51,

Such a good parent you are! I hope your son gives you an A. ; )

First check out our Nepal section. Also try our India section. Nepal and India share a political border but the foods of Northern India (wheat, lamb, lentils or dals) cross into Nepal's ovens and pots.

You'll find a few recipes from Nepal and North India in the award-winning book, Flatbreads and Flavors (William Morrow) by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. They traveled around the world, meeting real people and gathering recipes, and the book is as fascinating to read as it is a recipe source.

Here's what they say about Nepal:

"In the valleys and southern parts of Nepal, the population is largely Hindu, and the influence of the Indian culinary tradition is strong: Chapattis, lentil stews (dal), vegetable dishes, and chutneys are the basis of the diet. In the Himalayan valleys and uplands, the climate, vegetation, and culture are more like those of Tibet; people depend on corn, potatoes, barley, and herds of yak."

Sine yak is so difficult to find these days, I suggest you try the Nepalese/North Indian recipe below adapted from Flatbreads and Flavors for Chapatti, a soft whole wheat bread served with lentil dishes, stews, yogurt or chutney. Use a cast-iron skillet to make it.

Good luck—let me know how it turns out!


Chapatti (or chapati)

2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water; more as needed

Mix together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and add 1 cup warm water, mixing it with the flour until a soft dough is formed. If the dough is sticky add more flour, if it's dry add more warm water. Knead on a lightly floured board 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Divide the dough and roll into eight 8-inch rounds. Do not flip the dough over and do not stack the rounds. Cover each round with plastic as you finish it.

Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Place one dough round on the skillet, top-side down and cook for 10 second., Flip and cook about 1 minute, until small bubbles begin to erupt. Flip it back over and cook another minute. The chapatti should start to balloon up; if not, press on a bubble, forcing it to expand (protect your hands with a towel). Keep the finished breads warm in a towel as you cook the others.

Recipe From:
Flatbreads and Flavors
by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
William Morrow
Recipe reprinted with permission.

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This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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