Becky’s 1 Minute Summary:
What: Casual dining. Simple, humble flavours. Reminisces of Chinese/Indian food.
What to order here: Momos. A Thali set for the Nepalese experience. Pumpkin Lamb.
Overall experience: A uniquely Nepalese experience that everyone should try at least once, if not thrice! This is the place for a simple meal that’s reasonable priced and it’s not too foreign/exciting, since its flavours can be traced to Chinese/Indian food.
Price: Very reasonable for the quality and taste.
For the long story, read on. 🙂
At its core it’s unpretentious, humble food with simple flavours. It’s not likely to make to be as fancy or revered in the food world as French cuisine anytime soon, but Nepalese food has its own complexities and charm.
For one, the deceptively simple looking momos (dumplings) are delicious not by fluke but because of the careful use of mixture of spices, some directly imported from Nepal.
By the way, I can proudly say that I can make momos now! 😀
It’s pretty simple actually if you have all the ingredients. But even if you’re missing the masala powder (it’s NOT curry powder – so it says on the box), the core spices and herbs are enough to make some great momos to impress, well, whoever you want to impress.
Start with the basic ingredients of minced chicken – with skin please, onions and of course wheat flour.
No rising or whatsoever required. If I remembered correctly, it was flour, salt and water mixed and then rolled out in circular flat discs.
The marination of the fillings are by “agak-agak” – or at least that’s how it’s done here. Just go by gut feel and for those who really can’t cook/inexperienced and in need of specific instructions, save yourself the trouble and head over to Restaurant Nepal in Plaza Damas and order 8 pieces of momos (chicken or vegetarian) for RM12 or 4 pieces for RM7.
Frankly I’ll personally opt for the easy way out. 😀
BELOW: A platter of steamed and fried chicken momos plus a bowl of homely soup, all for RM12.
But of course, if you fancy yourself a bit of a home chef, read on.
The simple looking momos does use a myriad of spices. We have here cumin, masala, coriander, ginger, garlic and salt.
In a bowl combine the chicken with onions and fresh coriander followed by the garlic and ginger.
Add the dry spices and salt before mixing everything well.
The art of making momos probably lies more the in folding process than anything else.
Take a flour wrap in one hand, add some of the chicken mixture into it before slowly but surely folding it all in; using mainly your thumb and first finger. A bit of coordination is needed from the hand holding the flour wrap as you would need to turn the wrap anti-clockwise as you fold.
Can you guess which is mine? 😀
After much fun and to the relieve of my “momo sifu” ( the guy who taught me how to make the momos had been doing so for 10 years!) our freshly made momos were sent to the kitchen to be cooked. The steamed momos were a bit like Xiao Long Pao, oozing hot juices (hence why there should be chicken skin and not just chicken meat) as we bite into them.
The 2 dips at the side was redundant in this case, though I have to say that these dips were really interesting; mainly because it is not commonly available elsewhere and they impart their own distinct flavours.
The orangey one (top) was made from tomato, sesame and coriander while the lower one has chilli, garlic, ginger, turmeric and hot chilli; effectively making it spicier and imparting more kick.
These same dips goes pretty well with most of the food here; especially so the meats. We were served the same dips with our Kukhura Tass; marinated chicken skewers and grilled (RM7).
I spread some with my Chowmein (RM9) since I found it a bit bland and it enhanced the dish marvelously.
We probed further; and was rewarded with Robin showing us the “peppers” responsible for the unfamiliar heat of the sauces, because these peppers are not commonly used in our chinese/Malay cooking. Different chillies does gives out distinctively different flavour and level of heat, and we were sure these were not made from our usual chillies and bird eye variations.
The peppers above are imported from Nepal, just like the many other spices used in the cooking here, ensuring an authentic Nepalese cuisine experience, without the need for a flight ticket.
Once we were on the subject of peppers, a Nepalese lesson in spices ensued.
Here we have the Timmur, which was used in the delicious Lamb Pumpkin Curry. Timmur is reminisces of the Sichuan pepper, with its overpowering smell and intense heat.
Left : Whole seeds, Right: grinded version.
The Pumpkin Curry with Juicy Mutton Bone Marrow (RM18). A must order!
Another spice called Silam is mixed with the simple preparation of boiled potatoes and onions. This was addictive, as the potatoes has an intriguing tang, savoury, spicy flavour simultaneously. Buttery mash? Nah, give me this anytime! 🙂
For many of us, food is just food. For me it’s more than just sustenance. I love being able to learn more and be able to “understand” food. It was an educational session sitting here chatting with Robin and I hope the same for you.
If you do ever step into Restaurant Nepal, don’t be shy and do ask about the dish that you’re sampling, why it tasted like how it does and what is Thakali cuisine all about.
It does make you appreciate your meal better. 🙂
I have been to Nepal and I loved what I sampled. Here, I was transported back to the month of November 2012 where I walked the culture rich durbar squares and ate potatoes at every meal.
Thank you Robin for bringing this experience to all of us in KL.
The Thali set was similar in concept, though not entirely similar in taste. It’s just like how our banana leaf rice is, a bit of difference in some of its components but essentially the same. 🙂
Wash it all down with some Nepalese tea, lassi or their special Shang-rila; a version of sangria with a blend of red wine and shredded apple.
“Dhanyaabad” (Nepalese for Thank You) to Robin for kindly hosting us for dinner, and for his patience as it was nearly 2 months from his initial email to the date I finally made it to Restaurant Nepal. 😀
Restaurant Nepal – Himalayan Cuisine KL (right opposite TGIF restaurant)
Plaza Damas, 60 Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, 50480, Kuala Lumpur.
Reservation/enquiry : +6016 9770 718
Mon – Fri: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
For further reading of my Nepalese experiences, you can surf through the links below: 🙂
- Kathmandu, Nepal 2012 – Day 1 in summary – Arrival: Tribhuvan International Airport & the 6 hours journey to Chitwan National Park
- Kathmandu, Nepal 2012 – AirAsia X CSR Launch : Kathmandu, Nepal – One Child One Laptop Programme (OLPC)
- Kathmandu, Nepal 2012 – Sarangkot – amazing sunrise & breathtaking Annapurna mountains view!
- Kathmandu, Nepal 2012 : Chitwan National Park – Elephant rides, baby rhinos and more!
- Kathmandu, Nepal 2012 : Art & Culture – Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square
- Food in Nepal: Expect a lot of potatoes, rice, vegetables, legumes and surprisingly good pastries!
- Food in Nepal: Day 3 & 4: Scrumptious breakfast at Royal Singhi Hotel, Thai food at Him Thai Restaurant and Cafereena – multi cuisine and momos!
- Food in Nepal: Day 3 & 4: Momos – tibetan dumplings, fresh yogurt, bhatura and thali meals