'Seven Years in Tibet' Recipes & Photos

by Celeste Heiter, Jan 29, 2005 | Destinations: China / Tibet

Tomato Soup with Bleu Cheese, the closest thing we have to fermented yak's milk.
Lamb Stew with spinach and bits of torn up pasta dough.

MoMo Dumplings


2 c All-purpose flour
3/4 c Hot water

Combine hot water and flour. Mix with fork until dough forms a ball. Knead dough until it is soft and elastic. Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.


½ pound ground lamb or beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup fresh kale, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 T Ginger root, finely minced
2 tsp. curry powder
1 T brandy
2 tsp flour
2 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp chili paste
Several large lettuce or cabbage leaves for lining the steamer basket

Finely chop all ingredients and combine in a large bowl. Thoroughly mix the filling, kneading by hand until thoroughly and uniformly mixed.

Mo Mo Dipping Sauce

¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup vinegar
1 tsp chili oil
1 T ginger root, finely grated

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, shake vigorously and let stand for 1 hour to marry flavors.

Assembling the Mo Mo Dumplings:

Divide the dough into walnut-sized balls. On a floured board, roll each piece of dough into a thin flat circle about 4? in diameter. For efficiency, you may also roll the whole batch of dough into a thin sheet and cut into circles with a cookie cutter or a glass.

To fill, place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of each circle of dough. Dumplings may be formed in two styles. For a half-moon shape, fold the dough in half over the filling and pinch the edges to seal. For a sachet style dumpling, pinch the dough into a series of tiny pleats, gathering the edge together into a tightly puckered rosette at the top.

Line a bamboo steamer or the bottom of a large skillet with lettuce or cabbage leaves. Top with a layer of dumplings and steam over boiling water for 30 minutes. If using a skillet, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan beneath the leaves. Check the water level frequently throughout the cooking process and replenish water as needed. Remove the dumplings from the steamer and serve immediately with dipping sauce.


½ onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
½ tsp ginger, finely grated
¼ lb minced or ground beef
½ tsp chili paste
1 T vegetable oil
3 oz blue cheese
1 large tomato, finely diced
5 cups water or stock
¼ cup cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup water

In large skillet, sauté onion, garlic and ginger in oil over medium heat until lightly browned. Add beef, stirring constantly until browned. Reduce heat, add chili paste and bleu cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Add tomato and water, stirring until thoroughly blended. Stir in cornstarch mixture and continue stirring and simmering mixture thickens slightly. Serve in individual bowls with a little bleu cheese crumbled on top of each dish.

Then Thuk

Noodle Dough

½ cup flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ cup water

Mix flour and vegetable oil. Add water a little at a time until dough forms a ball, being careful not to over water. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Then Thuk

½ lb boneless lamb shoulder or leg, cut into thin strips
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp ginger root, finely grated
1 tsp salt
2? piece of daikon radish, quartered & thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh spinach leaves, washed, trimmed & chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
4 cups water or stock

Heat the oil in a deep saucepan and saute onion, garlic and ginger until tender. Add the meat and soy sauce, stirring until brown. Add water and daikon, reduce heat and simmer on low heat. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough into a thin sheet and cut into 2? strips. Tear each strip into small pieces, and toss each piece into the simmering pot. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the spinach, simmer until just tender and serve immediately.

Mar Jasha

3 lbs chicken breasts


1 T mild curry powder
2 T lime juice
5 T yogurt


2 medium tomatoes, pureed
2 onions, finely chopped
1 T ginger root, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ cup cashew nuts, ground into a paste
2 T butter
3 T heavy cream
½ tsp chili paste
2 T sesame oil

Combine all marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a shallow dish and coat with the marinade. Marinate the chicken for 1 hour. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet and fry the chicken until lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Remove the chicken and set aside. In the same skillet, saute the onions, ginger and garlic until tender. Add cashew butter, chili paste, and tomato puree. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add butter and cream, stirring thoroughly to blend. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes or longer, or until chicken is done. Add a little water to the pan as needed and stir to keep the sauce from becoming too dry.

Balep Korkun

2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1 cup water

Mix the flour and baking powder. Use a fork to stir in the water a little at a time until the mixture forms a ball. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic and divide into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and allow to rest for 30 minutes. On a lightly floured board, roll each piece of dough into rounds approximately ½? thick.

To bake coat a large skillet with oil, butter or non-stick cooking spray and warm the pan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and place the rolled dough in the skillet one piece at a time. Cover with a tight fitting lid and bake over medium heat for about 15 minutes, turning frequently to brown evenly on both sides.

Po Cha

6 cups water
3 tea bags (ordinary black tea)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk or 1 teaspoon milk powder

First boil six cups of water. Put three tea bags one heaping tablespoon of loose tea in the water and steep for 2 minutes. Remove tea bags (or strain the tea leaves if you use loose tea). Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 1/2 cup of milk or a teaspoon of milk powder into a blender or shaker. Blend or shake the mixture for two to three minutes. Serve immediately.