If you’ve been to an Indian restaurant, you would have come across Dal Bhat Tarkari on the menu. At first glance, you might think it’s only rice served with Dhal curry and other condiments. In fact, this humble dish has complex flavours and spices that will delight your tastebuds!
It’s rustic, but it is not short of taste and flavour. More importantly, it’s the perfect dish for vegetarians or as a healthy alternative for those that crave spicy food.
What is Dal Bhat Tarkari
Dal Bhat Tarkari is a Nepalese vegetable curry that is served with rice. The dish is a staple in Nepalese cuisine as it utilises ingredients and spices that are commonly found in Nepal. The base of the Dal is made using lentil beans and common Indian spices like cardamom. At the same time, the curry (Tarkari) is made using vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.
Most of the time, the dish will also include a spicy chutney, fresh chilli peppers, fermented pickles and cucumber slices to help balance out the spiciness.
The History of Dal Bhat Tarkari
If you are familiar with Nepalese cuisine, you would know that their dishes are not just influenced by Indian culture but Tibetan food culture as well. When translated, the name of the dish literally means lentils and vegetable curry. The story behind the origin of the dish is quite an interesting one.
It’s easy to assume that the Dal Bhat Tarkari was created because most of Nepalese are vegetarians. However, there’s another reason why the dish is vegetarian. In Nepal, the price of beef is sometimes so high that most people resort to a vegetarian diet and the local ingredients. Due to the usage of local ingredients, the components of the dish actually varies depending on the region.
In some cases, you would find that the rice is substituted with other grains such as buckwheat, barley or maize – this practice is especially common if you visit the areas in Nepal that are of higher altitude. In other cases, the type of vegetables used might vary depending on the season and availability.
While most modern restaurants today stick to three primary ingredients of lentils, rice and vegetable curry, you would find that traditionally, different ethnic and different families have their own unique recipe to prepare the dish.
Health Benefits of Dal Bhat Tarkari
There’s a reason why the Nepalese eat Dal Bhat Tarkari daily, and that’s because it’s a well-balanced meal. The rice and grains used are a good source of carbohydrates that is needed to burn fats and changes them into a source of energy. Dhal, on the other hand, is considered to be one of the healthiest lentils as it contains high amounts of calcium, iron and vitamins that are needed to build strong bones and optimise body function. Besides, the vegetables are good sources of vitamins and fibre too.
Where to get Dal Bhat Tarkari in Malaysia
Interested in giving this dish a try? You’ll have to visit an authentic Nepalese restaurant to find this dish! In KL, you can make your way to Restoran Mandala on Jalan Medan Pasar and choose from their variety of Nepalese dishes. Similarly, you can also try your luck at Café Kathmandu in the KL vicinity.
Better yet, why not bring Nepal food to your doorstep by ordering via the foodpanda app today!