Yeshi’s body clock is not a good match for the crazy Christmas season. In Tibet this is the lazy time of year. Late autumn brings a rush of jobs: harvesting fruit and vegetables and drying and curing them for use over the long winter. By the time December calls around there’s not much to do.
As we gear up for a busy couple of weeks at Taste Tibet, Yeshi remembers the slower pace of life in the village during wintertime. From a young age he would accompany the family’s yaks, cows, sheep, pigs and goats up onto the hills for their forage. During this off-season he and his brothers would cook up delicious food over the fire while the animals fed. Bhatsa marku was a favourite – ‘nomad food’, Yeshi calls it. Essentially this is a kind of gnocchi, a one-pot dish that is simple to make and easy to eat in the great outdoors.
They also did a lot of larking about. There was always a good deal of snow on the shaded hill slopes, and they would lug this over to the sunny side and build snowmen or hurl snowballs at each other. Everyone was a good shot. Yeshi remembers that a particular game at this time of year involved hurling sticks up into the trees to dislodge the walnuts that nobody had managed to reach during the harvest time. Fallen nuts then became weapons of use themselves. Once a tidy collection had formed these provided a delicious, ready snack.
When he moved to India, Yeshi finally got the chance to hone his shooting skills out on the basketball pitch. He definitely missed out on an NBA spot, but bhatsa marku is the kids’ no. 1 meal of choice, so no time wasted there.
If you’d like to cook up some ‘nomad food’ this winter, the recipe for bhatsa marku has been recreated by food blogger Kavey Eats, who has also put together a very comprehensive review of our cookbook, including four free recipes to get you going – check it!
Remember that you can purchase a signed copy of Taste Tibet online or at the restaurant. Otherwise, we’re delighted if you can support your local bookshop by buying with them. Wherever you come by your copy, make sure you tag us in any pictures that you share – it brings us great joy to see people starting to cook Tibetan.
Taste Tibet is open all the usual hours this week, as follows:
Wednesday: 5-9.30pm (dinner only)
Thursday – Saturday: 12-3 (lunch) / 5-9.30pm (dinner)
Our menu is out now – check the website for full details. Come by for dine in, hot food takeaway or freezer food. We’re also well-stocked for Sepen Chilli Oil and Pickled Mooli Radish. And if you’d like us to bag you up some of Yeshi’s chocolate tsampa truffles, we can do this for you in a gift package as well.
Finally, there’s been a flurry of orders for gift vouchers this winter. If Christmas is a lazy season for you too, these are your perfect solution! They can be redeemed both online or at the restaurant. When you shop with us, please consider donating something towards our free food initiative as well. Taste Tibet provides meals through Oxford Mutual Aid every Sunday and every little helps, especially at this time of year.
Thank you and look forward to seeing you soon!
Julie and Yeshi
Opening hours this week:
Thurs – Sat: 12-3pm 🥢 5-9.30pm
☏ 01865 499318