India, especially the region around Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, has a lot of people who migrated from Tibet. These are folks that escaped the Chinese invasion into Tibet and now call India their home. When I was in college in the 80s there were a number of eateries around the ITO area in Delhi that were run by Tibetans. Since Chinese food (of the Indian-Chinese variety) is wildly popular, these eateries did brisk business in making their versions of Indo-Chinese staples like the Manchurian. Tibetan food was still a bit of an unknown.
Fast forward to 2011. On a recent visit to Delhi I was really happy to see that Tibetan cuisine has become a force in itself and it is not unusual to find Tibetan restaurants in the capital. At a restaurant in Gurgaon, my nephew introduced me to a spicy noodle soup called Thukpa which was simply stunning. To my knowledge it is the only soup that uses Garam Masala as a key ingredient. Given how cold it is these days, here is something to warm you up on a cold night. NOTE: This is not a purist’s recipe. It is my take on this soup.
INGREDIENTS (enough for 4)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 large ripe tomatoes – diced
1 inch ginger finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 carrots – peeled and diced
2 cubes of veggie bouillon
1 cup baby corn – cut into 1 inch pieces
8 oz Tofu – cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
Couple of handfuls of fresh spinach
Salt to taste
1 tsp of Rooster Sauce (Sriracha) – everything is better with Rooster Sauce
Egg noodles – boiled till partially cooked
1. In a stockpot, heat the oil.
2. Once hot, add tomatoes, ginger and garlic and cook till tomatoes are pulpy.
3. Add 4 cups of water and the cubes of veggie boullion.
4. Add carrots, baby corn and tofu.
5. Add the five spice powder and garam masala.
6.Add the Sriracha sauce.
7. Cook on medium heat till the carrots are cooked.
8. Tear the spinach leaves and throw these in.
9. Squeeze in 1 whole lime.
10. At this point taste the broth to adjust to your taste. It should be spicy and tangy. If it is not, add lime and Sriracha sauce till you achieve the flavor profile you want. If you like a little sweetness with your heat, throw in some sugar. Hey, you are going to eat this. It better taste good to you.
11. Ladle over cooked noodles and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot.