Secrets of Tibetan Cooking: A Nod to Salt

Do you stop to consider where your salt comes from, and how it is formed? Salt is one of the most common substances on earth, and in eastern Tibet, where I grew up, salt production is a way of life. We harvest it using the solar method, the oldest and most traditional way of producing salt, and spring - the driest and windiest time of year - is harvest season. My hometown area is famed for its natural salt flats, shallow ponds where salt water is captured, and the sun and wind evaporate most of the water. Salt production has bolstered our local economy for centuries. Many of my friends and family members are involved in the industry in some way. The pictures in this blog post were taken by r

Secrets of Tibetan Cooking: Spices

In Tibetan medicine, food is seen as a way to cure disease and to maintain a healthy body. In particular, spices are considered to have their own healing properties. When used in the right quantities at the right time, they not only tingle our tastebuds, but help to keep our diet and our bodies in balance. By tradition, wild garlic is considered a spice as much as a vegetable, and it is the single most important plant used in Tibetan medicine. It is widely recognised for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, and in Tibet people say that garlic bulbs help to relieve headaches at high altitude. Garlic is an essential ingredient of the chilli dips we serve with our curries

Springtime in Tibet

Oh, spring! Oxford is so beautiful at this time of year, and every time I see the blossom out on the trees I get thrown into a spin of nostalgia for home. Spring is the most wonderful time in Tibet. People say that spring comes to the south-eastern corner of Tibet, where I come from, before it reaches anywhere else. The peach blossom is seen as the messenger of spring, and it blankets the hillsides and valleys from March time. My abiding memory of this time of year in Tibet is actually of the night. When we were camped out under the stars cooking up something steaming to warm our hands and bellies, you could see the blossom by moonlight as if the mountains were covered in snow. It was everyw

Why Do Our Momos Taste So Good?

The Taste Tibet momo is the talk of Oxford town, which is saying something in a city that does well for dumplings. What is our secret? Fresh ingredients are completely key, and some of the veg that we use in our momos is home-grown. But it's the labour of love that goes into these beautiful bundles that makes them taste so delicious. Parcelling them up is of course a learned skill, but this represents merely the final step of a lengthy process. First the dough must be mixed and kneaded and left to rise. Then the filling must be made, involving the washing and chopping of industrial quantities of veg or meat. Finally, the dough is pinched out into momo-sized pieces, before being rolled flat i

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