Nepal was totally transformational for me. I could go on and on about my experience there, but one of the most surprising revelations was the food. All I had heard from friends who had visited or trekked there was that the food was monotonous and boring with days on end of beans and rice. Though these are staples for many Nepalese, the food there is anything but boring. With over twenty ethnic groups and a varied climate, it shouldn’t be surprising that the cuisine is as diverse as Nepal’s people. There is an interesting mix of influences from India, China, and Tibet and it really shows. This dish below uses many of the spices common in India, and is perhaps one of my favorites. Fenugreek is wonderfully bitter, though it can also be a bit tough. Look for tender stalks and make sure to trim away all of the tough bits before cooking. This is equally delicious with other greens. I sometimes do this same preparation for spinach or kale.
Stir-Fried Fenugreek Leaves
3 bunches of fenugreek – look for bunches that are not too woodsy
1-2 Tbsp oil
1 handful of dried chilies
1 tsp fenugreek seed
1 onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp tumeric
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander powder
2 Tb butter
1. Remove the woodsy stems of the fenugreek and wash thoroughly. Fenugreek tends to have a lot of sand so I usually swirl it around in a sink of water. Keep repeating until there is no longer any sand and dry.
2. Heat the oil in a fry pan until hot and add your dried chilies and fenugreek and toss for about 1 minute until fragrant. Be careful as the chilies easily burn.
3. Add the minced onion and garlic and fry until they begin to brown.
4. Add tumeric, cumin, and coriander, and fenugreek leaves and stir-fry over medium heat until the leaves begin to wilt. Toss in the butter and stir to coat and season to taste with salt.