Many people who come for trekking in Nepal or for a simple tour of the country to experience the ancient culture, temples and stupas, they are astonished to find the rich food culture that exists there as well. Best of all, Nepal is mostly if not entirely free of GMO foods and most of the foods that are consumed are local and organic. We are no experts in food technology, but we think that non-GMO and organic food just tastes better.
If you are trekking to the Annapurna region including our Ghorepani trekking along with the 15 days Annapurna base camp trek and 22 days Annapurna Circuit trek, you will be treated to the dishes that are very popular in the Thakali community. Thakalis are famous for preparing mouthwatering meat dishes, fresh vegetable and lentil soup that contains fresh clarified butter. In a Thakali village, you are sure to feel hungry if you are passing by the village in the evening or are staying there. On the other hand, Everest trekking packages will introduce you to more westernized dishes (toast and eggs, porridges for breakfast instead) and dishes that are more Tibetan inclined. The Sherpa Noodle soup called Thukpa is something that is a favorite of our customers and who can resist momos, the legendary Tibetan/Nepali pot stickers? Similarly, items like Chow mien and the famous Dal Bhat is readily available in the region as well. Yes, they are carb heavy, but you need them.
So today let’s introduce you to a dish that is popular with the Thakali community and most of Nepal. Rayo ko Saag – Wilted Mustard Greens.
- 1 tablespoon Olive or Sesame seed Oil
- 1 Bunch Green Mustard leaves cut to about one and half inches (the dish is equally tasty with Spinach or Bok Choy)
- ¼ tea spoon Ajwain (mostly available in Indian stores here in the US. If not, online is the best bet)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 whole red chili peppers
- Heat the oil until it is really hot.
- Add whole red chili peppers. Stir gently until it is really dark brown
- Add Ajwain and stir in the oil, chili and Ajwain mix for about 30 seconds.
- Add the Green Mustard leaves to the pan (be careful since the noise of the leaves meeting the oil is a bit loud and if you are too close, you might get some hot oil in you. Stay clear and not too close AKA it’s too soon to try to smell the food!)
- Add salt. Stir the leaves and keep it cooking for 2 minutes.
- Stir the leaves so that the ones on the top going to the bottom (flip them sort of). Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Stir the leaves again so that the ones on the top go to the bottom. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Stir again and cook for 2 more minutes. So 8 minutes total.
- Transfer to a serving dish. A great companion with white or brown rice of quinoa.
For everyone who come to Nepal as our guest, we do not only specialize in mountain adventure trip for Nepal or trekking, expeditions or jungle safari. We believe that experiencing the culinary culture of the places that you visit is equally important when you visit a new place.
When you are with us, we will make sure that you get to taste the best of what Nepal has to offer. Until then however, I hope you enjoy this simple to make, healthy and delicious dish at your home.