The Ultimate Nepalese Cook Book – update

Peter Morrell tries some dishes from the unique book by ex-Gurkha chef Pemba Lama

Firstly I will declare an interest, my father was a tank driver in WW2 in Burma. He was fighting his way towards Mandalay and the Irrawaddy River when his war ended by being injured at Schwebo. As I was growing up he recounted stories about the war and made glowing references about the Gurkha soldiers who he fought shoulder to shoulder with. They showed immense bravery, dedication and loyalty to Britain.

I have therefore always had admiration for the Nepalese and was interested to hear that a new book, The Ultimate Nepalese Cook Book, written by ex-Gurkha chef Pemba Lama had been published. The book has been edited and designed by an all-Kent team and to give it a UK twist the puddings section has been put together by Cranbrook based chef, Nicci Gurr, using Nepalese tea and home grown chillies.
Nepalese food is rich in fresh ingredients, herbs and spices, with very, very few additives (if any), and very few dairy products. It is delicious, with layers of taste bursting on the tongue and a subtlety that much Indian food doesn’t possess. Nepal sits on a culinary crossroads so is influenced by the cuisine of India, China, Tibet and even Malaysia and all with the basics and grounding in Nepal.

I have tried some of the recipes from the book, The Sherpa Lamb Curry was a warming and satisfying dish that must be a mountaineer’s delight but my favourite was the Almilo Peero Kukhra., Hot and Sour Chicken. This had real complexity and showed how the diverse flavours of sweet and sour and aromatic spices can be brought together to produce a memorable dish.

I am sure that you will all remember Joanna Lumley getting involved with the Gurkha Justice Campaign back in 2008. She fought a great campaign to establish the rights of the soldiers that Britain owe so much to. Support for them is still needed so it is good to know that for every book sold a donation will go to the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Joanna has also expressed her support and enthusiasm for The Ultimate Nepalese Cook Book stating, ‘What a marvellous cook book! The recipes are mouth-watering and will bring an authentic taste of Nepal to countless kitchens. Jai Nepal!’

Pemba Lama, who has cooked for the Queen and Jamie Oliver, has done a great job in putting together this unique collection of recipes that both reflect the culture of Nepal and its neighbours and his own experiences as a chef who has cooked in many parts of the world.

The Ultimate Nepalese Cook Book is available from Amazon. Click here.. to buy it.

Update 25th June 2012

The Ultimate seal of approval from The Dalai Lama

On June 21st 2012 Pemba Lama was asked to cook at the Luncheon for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who is presently touring the UK. Pemba and his team of serving Gurkha Chefs from the Brigade of Gurkhas presented a predominantly vegetarian menu with dishes straight from The Ultimate Nepalese Cook Book. The dishes were carefully balanced and included many local and traditional dishes from Tibet, Nepal, Japan and Britain. His Holiness very kindly signed a copy of the Cook Book and looked through it at some length!

The Cook Book is very close to Pemba’s heart as with every copy sold a donation goes to the Gurkha Welfare Trust. His profile in the media has rapidly increased over the last few months since the launch of the Cook Book and Pemba has recently completed filming on a BBC cookery show with Madhur Jaffrey, a well-known Indian cookery writer and actress. The show will be screened later this year.

The Ultimate Nepalese Cook Book is a culmination of Pemba’s colourful passion for life and superb culinary skills. His extensive travel shines through in the fusion of different cuisines and now retired from the Army, Pemba teaches catering and ethnic cookery to both Army personnel and civilians.