The majestic view of Pangong lake amid the cold dessert of Ladakh is the first image that strikes us the moment we think of Ladakh. The sub-zero temperature and the tough terrain have made Ladakh a distant dream for many; barring the travel enthusiasts who will fight all odds to be in the lap of nature. The serene locales sure deserve all the hype and praise, but to think that is all that this little district has to offer is not entirely fair. The mountains may 'call you', but what would hold you back for a little long, is the rich food of 'the moon land'. Ladakhi cuisine is replete with history that goes back years in time, the influences from home and abroad, the subtleness of local, seasonal produce.
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If you dig deeper into the cuisine, you will find many dishes that are also common to Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese cuisine. Together, they are also often clubbed as the Himalayan cuisine. From soothing stews to chunky momos, to fiery chicken starters- you would find a range of food in Ladakh that may leave you spoilt for choice, but we have no qualms in admitting that we have a certain bias for the Ladakhi stew. Soothing, comforting and flavourful all at once, this stew often made with a bunch of leafy greens, crunchy vegetables, meat and dumplings. This particular recipe also uses potato and paneer cubes as well. The caramelised onions impart a sweet, soft, richness, the hint of ginger and garlic elevates the flavour of this mild stew, while the red chilli powder and garam masala add the much-needed hotness.
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To make the Ladakhi chicken, you need to start with caramelising the onions. To the onions you are supposed to add the ginger-garlic paste, Kashmiri red chilli, carrot, green peas, spinach leaves, and fry. Post this, you are supposed to add the chicken stock, chicken, potatoes and paneer cubes. Throw in small balls made with barley dough, along with spring onion stems, coriander and mix gently. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes. Serve hot.
Sounds easy? Why don't you try it yourself, here's a detailed recipe with all the ingredients.
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