Saturday, October 20, 2012

It'll Be Okra

When I started the Vegan Month of Food challenge,  I had hoped to focus on Fall classics; however, life happens and that's changed. On Monday, I'm going on the road for two weeks of work and will need to be really flexible, so I won't be cooking much. Rather, I'll be "surviving on the road- vegan style."

Until then, I've been splurging on some tried and true favorite restaurants. Last night, we went to the Himalayan in Minneapolis that serves insanely tasty vegan Nepalese food with a friendly smile. This is a staple restaurant for us because there are so many, high quality vegan options (that are clearly labeled on the menu) and the lunch buffet always has multiple vegan offerings. Another reason is the owner is super friendly and makes you feel at home.

My favorite entree is the Ram-Toria-Aaloo, or as I prefer to refer to it "the okra dish." Okra, like brussel sprouts, gets a bum rap from improper preparation. If you use fresh okra and pat it dry after washing it, you won't get the sticky mush people sometimes associate with okra.  In this dish, you get a hearty combination of vegetables (okra, tomato, onion) melding with Nepalese spices (ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander) that make your mouth and stomach happy. If you don't have the option to go to Minneapolis's Himalayan, you could make a version of the dish from Jyoti Pathak's Taste of Nepal.
Ram-Toria-Aaloo from Himalayan Restaurant

My go to measure of a Nepalese restaurant is the momos. There are only two foods I have the uncontrollable urge to start singing about upon mere mention: enchiladas and momos. Momos are steamed dumplings with a succulent filling. In the case of the Himalayan, the veggie momos are filled with onions, garlic, ginger, and I think scallions (or spinach?) and served with a bright tomato-cilantro dipping sauce. If you're adventuresome in the kitchen, Yowangdu offers a vegan momo recipe (note: this website also mentions a meat version.)

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