World geography was one of the fun subjects in grade school, learning about other places and countries. I fancy I did quite well in that class, and the neat things I learned there drove my interest in travel and world cultures (not to mention food).
Ask somebody to point out Nepal on a globe, however, and most
victims folks wouldn’t have a clue. A few might get in the general region. A country that I think of as holding up the roof of the world, Nepal has the highest mountains on the planet. A fairly small country (93rd on the list), it has climate zones ranging from harsh and arctic-like to hot and tropical.
Nepal’s cuisine is a reflection of its multiethnic and geographic diversity, with influences in part from her two larger neighbors, China to the north and India to the south. Lots of dishes are spicy, with several that are scorching hot. Many Nepalese are vegetarian, similar to Indian culture. Chutneys and achar pickles accompany most meals. Yak is one of the everyday protein sources.
Our local farmer’s market holds court at 3 PM on Tuesday afternoon. An odd time, but conflicts with other events are held to a minimum this way; and with their location on Pecan Street in Pflugerville, they’re going to attract afternoon traffic as hungry folks head home to fix dinner.
It’s a bit early in the season for a lot of delicious veggies and such, but there are always the hard-core organic gardeners present. You can buy honey, lamb chops, baked goods and more. The two most interesting booths to me were from Formosa Art and Tea and Kala’s Kuisine. I’ll have more to say about Formosa Art and Tea in a later posting; I’m excited to learn they’re right in my community, though!
Kala’s Kuisine started when Kala Uprety decided, in 1994, to bring the flavors of Nepal to Austin. Her fusion combinations are a hit! Most of her products are vegan, and all are vegetarian. Most important to me, they’re all tasty and novel! (I’ve even coined a phrase for her fusion style: Tex-Nep food.)
This trip I bought some Cilantro Chutney, a creamy blend of cilantro, tofu (replacing yogurt) and spices. Great on chips, this chutney also accompanies any rice or bean dish quite well. Of course it’s great with Indian food too.
I also bought some Curry-Chipotle Salsa. This sauce looks like many salsas you see on your specialty food shelves, but it’s the only one I’ve ever seen with curry spices. Paired with chipotle, curry matches quite well! And the whole shebang is hot enough to satisfy any chilehead with a capsaicin fixation.
You can find Kala’s Kuisine products many places around the Austin metroplex: Whole Foods, Central Market, Sun Harvest, Wheatsville Food Co-op, and selected HEB Stores, to name a few. She also has a new agreement with Greenling, so Austin locavores can get Kala’s great products home-delivered.
Kala’s product listing is extensive: Curry Chipotle Salsa, Chutney Salsa, Mango Chutney, Cran-Apricot Chutney, Curry-Tabasco, Dhulee Achar, Curry Crunch, Cilantro Chutney, Peak O’De Gallo, Curry Sauce, Alu Tama Salad, Nepali Pasta Salad, Saag Pasta Salads, Chole, Pulau, Saag Paneer, Momos, Samosas, Saag Lunch, Chole Lunch, Saag Wrap, Roti Wrap, and Veggie Wraps. And she can make special items too! Check her food out, you may fall in love with Tex-Nep just like I have…
Enjoy the (Nepalese) Heat!
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