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Mmm mmm momos

While in Nepal and Tibet, I made it my mission to eat as many delicious momos as possible. Momos are steamed or fried dough parcels containing minced meat and/or veg and are served with a chili sauce. We don’t have a first-hand recipe but here’s an outline of how to make your own. We’ll be trying this out as soon as we have a kitchen to cook in!

Ingredients*
To make the dough:
500g plain white flour
add just enough water to make a sticky but smooth dough

For the filling:
250gm minced meat (chicken, beef or pork)
onion
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
spring onions
half tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp salt
1 green chili, seeds removed
1 tsp garam masala (optional)
fresh coriander leaves to taste

*Quantities are approximate so you will need to experiment and use your own expertise!

Method:
– prepare the dough
– finely chop and mix all filling ingredients
– take a small ball of dough and roll out thinly into a circle of approx 6-10cm
– place a small amount of the filling in the middle
– wet the edges of the circle and fold in half, enclosing the filling
– pinch together the edges, sealing the momos tightly and making small pleats in the dough (perhaps Google for a picture so you can see what they look like)
– steam the momos for 12-15  minutes over a pot of boiling water, oil the steamer so that the momos don’t stick
– when cooked and ready to eat, the momos should be shiny and not sticky
– serve with chili or tomato sauce


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Photos of our time in Tibet

Check out our Tibet photos

As promised, here’s a selection of our photos from our time in Tibet.  Hope you all enjoy them and let us know what you think.  We really enjoy reading your comments.  We’re flying to Bangkok today so we had better get out of this internet cafe and pack!

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Monks, Monasteries and Momos in Tibet

We’re just back from 11 days in Tibet and wanted to share our impressions with you all. Photos to follow soon…

First impressions:
Stern Chinese officials at the border after the amazing friendship bridge; Meeting our friendly Tibetan guide Norbu and the rest of our tour group; Bright blue skies and huge desert-like vistas; Scary hairpin bends and roads stretching towards the horizon (Top Gear would love it); Freezing cold despite piles of blankets.

The people: Curious, especially of Lou; Welcoming, friendly and wanting to communicate with us; Older people brightly dressed in traditional clothing representing different parts of Tibet, trendy younger people in western style clothes; Fun-loving, partial to Lhasa beer and Chyang.

Devoutness: Prostrating pilgrims making their way to Lhasa from all over Tibet, circling religious temples, spinning prayer wheels, chanting and making offerings of butter, money and alcohol; Children with black smudges on their noses after praying for protection; Monks in scarlet robes vociferously debating and attending puja (worship); Shrines in every home.

Oppression: Implied in subtle and non-so-subtle ways; Web censorship e.g. Facebook and Youtube blocked; tales of spies planted into communities; Soldiers with rifles on the streets in Lhasa; Difficulty in obtaining passports for Tibetan people; The Chinese government attempting to control the direction of Buddhism and restricting numbers of monks; Religious leaders in exile in India.

Tibet was amazing from start to finish. We were touched by the welcome from the Tibetan people and encouraged by their resilience and dedication. We’re looking forward to learning more about the history of the Chinese occupation and cultural revolution now we’re free from restrictions on the web. From what we’ve seen, Chinese involvement in Tibet has provided better infrastructure, healthcare and education amongst other things. Lhasa feels like a booming capital city, but at the cost of eroding the Tibetan culture and heritage. Our hope would be for a freer, self-governing Tibet, but only time will tell. In the meantime did you know that you can sign up to the Dalai Lama’s page on Facebook.

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Tibet here we come!

We’re off to Tibet today, with an early start at 5.30am.  We’ve chosen the cheapest option we could find of going overland by group tour bus both there and back.  The trip takes 8 days to get to Lhasa.  In preparation we’ve been reading the book by Alexandra David-Neel – “Magic and Mystery in Tibet”.  The book is all about how the Tibetan culture has survived over the centuries and easily incorporates events that western cultures would regard with disbelief and superstition, such as Buddhist monks covering great distances at speed without rest, surviving in sub-zero temperatures and telepathy.  It all whetted our appetite for what we are about to see.

Our itinerary is as follows:
Sat 4th – Kathmandu to Nyalam: Early morning drive across Nepal and negotiating Chinese immigration at the border.
Sun 5th – Nyalam to Lhatse: Up onto the Tibetan plateau with views of the Himalayas.
Mon 6th – Lhatse to Xigatse: Over the highest pass (Gyatchu La, 5,220M) on our route to Lhasa.|
Tue 7th – Jon’s birthday! Xigatse to Gyantse: Spending the morning sightseeing to Tashilhumpu monastery then the afternoon visiting the Kumbum stupa and Phalkor monastery in Gyantse.
Wed 8th –  Gyantse to Lhasa (3,650m): Full day’s drive past the Yamdrok Lake.
Thu 9th to Sun 12th – Lhasa:  Exploring Lhasa including the Jokhang temple, Barkhor bazaar, Potala palace and the Drepung and Sera monasteries.
Mon 13th to Tue 14th: Heading back to Kathmandu.

We’ll post about how it all went when we get back!  We then only have a couple of days before we fly to Bangkok on the 16th December.

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