Dal Bhat – The taste of Nepal

Imagine you have to choose one dish you will eat until the rest of your life twice a day. What would it be? Pizza? Kebab? Your mum’s speciality? In Nepal the answer is obvious: Dal Bhat. What is it? Basically – a dish which contains: rice (Bhat), a soup made of lentils (Dal) and some curry. That can be further extended by: pickles (tomato dip-like salad) and green veggies (fried leaves with spices). Every once in a while there would even be a chicken!

On the plate: dal soup, peas curry, green veggies, tomatoes pickle and rice. In the bowl – lassi (buffalo yoghurt)

The typical Nepalese daily meal plan:
morning: Masala tea and biscuits
around 10 o’clock: Dal Bhat
lunch: Masala tea and snack
evening: Dal Bhat

Sounds boring? We thought so as well. But it is not at all and now, while writing this post – I am craving some lentils. Rice and lentils taste always the same but the rest varies depending on what the people harvest at the moment. Pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes, branch of veggies we didn’t know from home – imagination is the limit. Dal Bhat is healthy, cheap and fills you up for the whole day. Additionally, if you order it in any food place you can be sure that your plate will be refilled several times. You have to be very persuasive to refuse another top-up.

Sometimes, a simple dal bat would grow into a huge food fiesta!

Nepalese people say: Dhal Bat power 24 hours! That’s why, if we were asked the question from above, our answer would be: Dal Bhat. Take a look at the Dal Soup recipe which we created from our Nepalese experience of cooking together with the locals:

Dal Soup
1 cup of lentils (mix of colors)
1\2 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp curry powder (they were using green curry)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1\2 tbsp cumin seeds
1-2 dried red chillies
2 cloves
3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • Rinse the lentils
  • Put them in a pot (in Nepal everyone are using pressure cookers but we bet it will work in normal one)
  • Add water (around 5 cm above the lentils level), turmeric, curry powder and salt
  • Cook until the lentils are soft but they don’t fall apart (in pressure cooker – cook until the steam whistle out of the pressure cup 5 times)
  • Let it rest (roughly 30 min – prepare curry in that time)
  • Fry cumin seeds, chillies, cloves and garlic
  • Add some Soup on the pan, mix it together
  • Pour the mixture into the pot
  • Add some hot water for the consistency (soup should be rather creamy and all the ingredients should be evenly distributed throughout the liquid)
  • Enjoy!

We think it will be great as a normal soup, served with some bread. But if you want to have a full Dal Bhat experience we recommend to eat it with rice using your hands instead of the fork. That’s how the Nepalese people do it.

Dal Soup served as a dip for the pumpkin pancakes – yummy!
Dal Bhat with a chicken curry – previously beheaded and plucked in front of us

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