Thursday, December 25, 2008

Aloo Tama: One-Pot Vegan Meal from Nepal

Here is a recipe for a one-dish meal based on bamboo shoots, a nourishing, vegetarian stew from Nepal called Aloo Tama.

[RECIPE]Potatoes with Beans and Bamboo Shoots
1 cup bamboo shoots
2 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2” cubes
1 cup blackeyed peas (cowpeas), soaked overnight
1 cup onion, finely chopped
3 dried chiles
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup yogurt
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons mustard oil
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish
1. Place a large saucepan over medium heat for 1–2 minutes. Add oil and chiles, and fry until dark brown. Add onions to the peppers and fry, stirring frequently, until the onions have browned. Reduce heat to low, and stir in spices and salt, allowing them heat through for 1–2 minutes.
2. Add potatoes to the onion mixture and sauté for 5 minutes in medium heat, adding 1/4 cup (50-75 ml) water if beginning to burn. Add soaked peas, bamboo shoots, yogurt, broth, and tomatoes to the mixture. Stir well.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, letting it simmer for 20–25 minutes under low heat until potatoes are tender and broth has a gravy-like consistency.
4. Place stew in bowls you have half filled with steamed rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro.


  1. This soup sounds delicious, but I do have one question -- how can it be vegan when the recipe calls for yogurt? I assume that it's used to give a creamy texture, but since I'm vegan, is there a good replacement -- for instance, would coconut milk work? Thanks

  2. You are absolutely right! I'll try it with coconut milk and post what I find out here. You should get an email when the entry is updated. Thanks for pointing out this mistake.

  3. usually aloo-tama in nepal doesn't call for yogurt. you may have added that element to bring in the tanginess of tama, or fermented bamboo shoot... usually people forget that tama is not just plain old bamboo shoot from a can, but its actually been processed with turmeric (a famous spice that cures all ills, known to ayurveda from time immemmorial and whose healing properties was almost patented by an American company before the Indian government foiled this nefarious attempt)... so anyways, ways to prepare tama includes mixing it with dry powdered turmeric and salt, stuffing it into a glass jar or pottery jar, and then closing lid tightly for a few days till the bamboo turns SOUR. Bingo--no need for yogurt. Plus you get the added advantage of an extraordinarily healing spice!