Even as someone who spends much of my working day online, I have never actually viewed an e-book. True, I am still fully in love with the ink on paper variety of reading but, that is not why I haven’t purchased an e-book. I simply haven’t come across something that I’ve wanted to read AND have it coincide with a gap in my giant stack of ‘To read’ books. But I became interested in the idea of a cooking e-book when Yolanda and Lobsang of YoWangdu.com decided to produce a Tibetan cookbook. I’d been reading their website for some time and also their wonderful newsletters and I could tell that this would be a quality product. So, I told them that I’d really like to try out some of their recipes and write about the book. They very generously supplied me with a review copy and off I went.
The book is essentially in three parts, meat, no meat and “something for everyone”. Being that this is mainly a vegetarian blog and most Tibetans are not vegetarians, I promptly flipped to the veggies recipes to see how the conversion challenge had been met. Very nicely, I’d say! Within the text it is pointed out that some vegetarian recipes and ingredients (such as those in the salad) are not necesarily traditional, but that many Tibetans have built an interest in such dishes as the diaspora expands outside of Tibet and meets new influences. I really liked that they said this because I think too often we expect a food culture to be what we imagine or have seen in National Geographic as children and do not take kindly to things we feel are “inauthentic”. But who is to say what is “authentic” in this transient, multi-cultural world we live in? That being said, I’d hate for you to get the impression that the book is filled with dumpling burgers or tsampa spaghetti! Rather, the recipes are traditionally based with concessions made only due to a lack of access to traditional ingredients or to make the item vegetarian friendly. I’ll add that everything I made was also very tasty. Have a look!
And the grande finale? Shamey balep (also pictured at the top of this page) which I ate with the fresh sepen. The interior of mine were a bit pink as I used yin tsai as my green. As with any kind of dough covered delight, these took a while to produce but I had loads of them and they were great cold in our lunchboxes the next day.
Unfortunately I have not yet visited Tibet, but I have spent some time in parts of India where I was able to indulge in the wonderful Tibetan food traditions. Having a chance to cook up a few things from this book takes me back to those days. If you are keen to check out the book yourself, here is a link and, if you are interested in any cultural information about Tibet I’d also highly recommend their website.