Cooking in Another Country

Sorry that it has been a while since my last post. Life has been a little crazy, but we are back in Nepal now! We have our own apartment and are adjusting back to life in Nepal. It has been great and we are loving it! But one part of adjusting is learning what and how to cook in another country. img_3078

In the States you can go to one grocery store and find just about every food you need. Well, in Nepal it doesn’t always work like that. There are a few larger stores that carry most items, but where we are living we have to make multiple stops to get all the items on our grocery list. We go to one store for our dry goods and meat, another store for our fruits and vegetables, and yet another store for our eggs. And on top of that, we have our milk delivered to our apartment. Grocery shopping takes a little more time here.

Another part of adjusting is figuring out how to make a recipe that you don’t have all of the ingredients for. That’s what happened to me a few nights ago. I don’t know about you, but I like to follow recipes. I’m not very good with just throwing things together and making it turn out great. My brother, on the other hand, is great at that! I must not have inherited that gene 🙂

My goal was to make a healthy version of chili from a cookbook I had recently received. Some of the ingredients I could find, but there were a few that I could not. On the list of items I couldn’t find was, ground turkey, canned beans, canned tomatoes, a red bell pepper, red wine and fresh cilantro. I know, that sounds like a big list, but some items had easy substitutions. For ground turkey I substituted ground water buffalo, for canned beans I used dry beans, for canned tomatoes I used fresh tomatoes and for a red bell pepper I just used a green one instead. Sounds easy, right? Have you ever cooked dry beans? I had not before this experience. It takes a long, loooong time! Needless to say, I ran out of patience before my beans got cooked as soft as I would have liked. But, I learned for next time to give myself more time.

So here we go, I’ve got my ingredients and I start cooking. When I get to the step to add everything together to bring to a boil, I realize that my chili is not very soupy. I don’t have any red wine to add to make it have more broth, so I think for a few minutes of what I can do. I don’t really want to add water because I’m afraid that might dilute it too much. So I go to my fridge and grab the milk that was just delivered that day! I think to myself, I’ve already changed so many things, why not throw another change into the mix! So I added some milk, hoping it would still taste good.img_20170216_183827

When it was done simmering I dished up a bowl for my husband and I and we sat down to the table. When I took the first bite, I realized that chili powder must not be the same in Nepal. My mouth was on fire! A word of advice, when going to another country, test out the chili powder before you add it to your food. img_20170216_183940

Other than my mouth being on fire and the beans being a little bit crunchy, the chili didn’t turn out too bad! I was pretty proud of myself. 🙂

So if you want to try something a little different, you can try my modified recipe of chili from Nepal! Here it is:

2 tsp. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb. ground water buffalo, cooked (I don’t know if you can find that in the States)
2 cups dry kidney beans, cooked
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup (roughly, I didn’t actually measure it) skim milk
1 Tbsp. chili powder
cheddar cheese

  1. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  3. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  4. Add water buffalo, beans (with the liquid used from cooking them), tomatoes, milk, and chili powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  5. Top with shredded cheese and enjoy!