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I love to take cooking class every where we go and so upon arrival in Nepal one of the first things I did was look up a cooking school in Kathmandu. I came across The Cook Like a Local classes at Social Tours and after seeing the many excellent review on TripAdvisor, signed up.
Usually I go to the cooking classes alone, but this time even Dave decided to accompany me.
We met Sakuntala – our cooking instructor at the school and set off to buy the ingredients with our other classmates, a Dutch couple with their friend. The menu for the day was cheese and spinach and vegetable momos with accompanying sauces.
If you’ve been to Nepal before you’ll notice that momos are a staple of Nepalese cooking and you’ll see it on just about every Nepalese menu. Momos are just like dumplings, with various fillings and served with a tomato based sauced.
We would be making them from scratch, from the filling, to the sauce to the dough.
We had a lot to do and had to get started.
We made everything together as a group and split up the various prep tasks. Some people would chop the onions, while others would dice the tomatoes, spinach, etc. Dave was our dough kneader – a first for him. It’s no easy task to turn flour and water into a ball of smooth dough, now he knows that.
While prepping all the ingredients you really start to realize how much hard work and heavy dicing goes into making these small dumplings.
Normally you just order them in a restaurant pop them in your mouth one after another and are happily stuffed.
Now we know what the back end of making momos is really like. Once we made the filing and sauce we got started on rolling out the dough.
You only need to put a spoonful of filling into each dough circle and then carefully pierce the ends together. There’s a certain technique that Sakuntala has certainly mastered, and as our professional she tried to show us how it’s done.
It takes quite a bit of practice and we formed a different shape for the veggie momos and the cheese and spinach momos. As you can see from the lower photo below of the cheese and spinach momos not everybody could form the dough together perfectly.
After a couple hours of hard work it was finally time to steam the momos and sit down for lunch. We were all ready for our momo feast to begin.
The freshly made and steamed momos were absolutely delicious. The spinach and cheese ones just melted and fell apart in your mouth, while the veggies ones had a bit of a kick and a lot of different flavors blending together.
I’m not sure which ones I liked more; they were both so good. I just couldn’t get enough. I kept piling them up onto my plate and gobbling down on them.
The best part of the momos was the sauce though. We made two different sauces; a tomato peanut butter sauce, and a tomato chili sauce. The tomato peanut butter sauce was incredible. Who knew tomatoes and peanut butter would go so well together? We first cooking the tomatoes with a variety of spices and then blended the tomato mixture with peanuts until it was smooth and creamy. For the tomato chili sauce we blended the tomato mixture with chili peppers. Both sauces were incredible. For the rest of our time in Nepal we ordered momos over and over again and never found a sauce anywhere near as good as this one.
Overall we had a great time at the cooking class and Sakuntala was a great instructor and we enjoyed learning how to make Nepalese momos. It was hard work making the momos but it all paid off in the end with a delicious lunch meal! I can’t wait to recreate this dish at home (hopefully with some kitchen assistants to help).
Following the cooking class I signed up for a Splice of Kathmandu tour, a 2.5 km walking tour of the Ason markets. This was a walking tour of the inner streets of Kathmandu, where I got to see the bustling bazaars of Ason, Bedasingh and Thahiti.
It was just me on the tour (Dave went back to the guesthouse to recover from his jet lag) so I had the guide’s full and undivided attention. I badgered him with questions, trying to absorb all the information he provided and really get a feel for Kathmandu and the Nepalese culture and people.
As we walked past the vegetable sellers, spice shops, utensils markets and pottery stalls I was starting to get a glimpse of the real Nepal, the Nepal that exists outside the toursity Thamel district in Kathmandu.
All the areas were lively and busy, with locals, commuters, shoppers, motorbike riders, and cars coexisting in the active atmosphere.
Not only did a glimpse at the daily lives of the Nepalese but I also got insights into the culture itself.
From my guide I learned all about the religion, holidays and traditions of the Nepalese. I learned about the various lifestyles and ways of thinking of the Nepalese people.
Overall I fully enjoyed the market walking tour and everything I got to learn about the Nepalese culture. A great way to spend an afternoon in Kathmandu.
I really enjoyed both the cooking class and the market tour and would recommend both to a first time visitor in Nepal. It really is a great way to learn more about the culture and the people of Nepal. And who can really say no to a delicious meal right?
Cooking Classes are 3.5 hours long, run from Sunday – Friday and cost $10 a person. You can choose between a momo class, dal bhat class, or aloo parantha class.
Market Tours are 2.5 hours long, run from Sunday – Friday at 2pm and cost $10 a person
* I received a small discount in exchange for this review but as always all opinions expressed here are my own