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Food & Health

Tasty talbina in ten minutes

Talbina is made from barley flour. Milk and honey are added to the dried barley and the name of the dish comes from the Arabic word “laban” meaning yogurt, because of its resemblance to yogurt. It is soft and white.
Our second recipe this week is a versatile mutton dish or an “Ishtoo” as it is called in regions of India. It is actually a stew that was probably inspired by the brown stew of the British Raj. Every region of India has its own varieties and can be made with yogurt, milk and different spices.
Next is a street food dish called “momos,” a type of South Asian dumpling, native to Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim. It is similar to Chinese baozi, Japanese gyoza and Korean mandu. This stuffed dumpling is one of the most popular dishes in Nepal and the minimally flavored veg momos with red chutney make for a light yet satisfying dinner.

Serves: 2
Cooking time: 10 minutes


1. 100% whole grain barley flour
2. Milk or coconut milk
3. Water
4. Honey

STEP 1: Pour 1 to 2 tbsps of barley flour into 1 to 2 cups of water or milk (I like to use half water with half milk).

STEP 2: Stir on low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until a porridge-like consistency is reached.

STEP 3: Sweeten with honey to your liking.

Serves: 4
Cooking and preparation time: 45 minutes

1 kg mutton
6 to 7 medium onions
3/4-cup yogurt or 1 cup laban
4 to 5 whole red chili peppers (more if you want spicy)
2 teaspoons of zafrani garam masala powder
Salt as required
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
Whole garam masala: 2 bay leaves, 3 to 4 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, a few black pepper corns, 2 cardamom
Whole and crushed coriander, optional for garnishing
3/4 cup of Canola or Afia oil
Coriander leaves for garnishing

1. Chop onions finely and set aside.
2. To oil, add whole garam masalas along with ginger garlic paste.
3. Fry and add mutton pieces, frying until brown.
4. Add chopped onions; lower the flame and let the onions leave their water.
5. Add the garam masala powder, salt and whole red chili peppers.
6. Cook in the oven.
7. Let the onion merge into mutton pieces. When mutton becomes tender, add laban or beaten yogurt to it (this recipe doesn’t require water at all). Keep stirring.
8. Cook for another 15 to 20 mins.
9. Add crushed coriander, green chili peppers and coriander leaves
10. Enjoy with chapatis, bread or naan.

Serves: 3
Cooking and preparation time: 45 minutes
Flour and cabbage are the main ingredients.


All purpose flour — 2 cups
Oil — 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Water — lukewarm to knead the flour

1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped carrots
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 finely minced green chili peppers
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp finely minced ginger
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp of black pepper powder
1/4 tsp of sugar (optional)
Salt to taste
Momos dough:
1. Place the flour, oil and salt in a bowl.
2. Mix well and slowly add warm water to make a smooth and soft dough.
3. Cover with a lid and set aside.

Vegetable filling:
1. Heat oil in a wide pan and add garlic.
2. Sautee for a minute; add the chopped green chili peppers and ginger and mix well.
3. Add chopped onions and sautee for 3 mins till they are translucent.
4. Add the chopped carrot and cook for 3-4 mins on medium heat.
5. Add the chopped cabbage and cook for at least 8-10 mins.
6. Add soy sauce, black pepper powder and sugar, and mix well.
7. Turn off the heat and allow to come to room temperature. Just before placing the filling on the rolled out circle, add salt and mix.

Making the momos:
1. Knead the dough again for 2-3 mins and pinch out small lemon-sized balls of the dough and dust with flour.
2. Roll each ball into a 3” or 4” diameter circle. It should not be too thick or too thin in thickness.
3. Place a tbsp of prepared vegetable filling in the center of each rolled out circle. Do not overstuff, as it will be difficult to form a neat pouch shape.
4. Beginning at one end of the flat circle, gather the edge to form pleats working your way around the circle. Bring the pleats together to form a pouch-like dumpling and seal the top.
5. Fill and shape all the rolled out circles into pouch-like dumplings.
6. Cover them with a damp cloth to avoid drying out.
7. Grease an aluminum or stainless steel steamer and place the shaped dumplings leaving a little space between each of them.
8. Fill a vessel or pot that is large enough to place the steamer with 3” to 4” of water and bring water to a boil.
9. Ensure that the bottom of the steamer is not in the water.
10. Bring water to a rolling boil; place the steamer in the vessel and cover.
11. Steam on high heat for 10 mins. The momos are done when a shiny sheen appears over them.
12. You can use a pressure cooker or a bamboo steamer to steam the momos.

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