Nepali Times
Life Times
Food friends

If Café Mitra was already renowned as a foodie haven grace of owner Kunal Lama's deft culinary touches, the last few Wednesday evenings with Chef Mohit have been the icing on the cake. On these warm summer nights, guests have been treated to a four course set extravaganza of culinary delights.

It is always interesting to see a Nepali with global experience try to make an impact back in Nepal. Chef Mohit worked in London and Washington DC and earned fame as one who can make desserts that melt in your mouth. Back home, he has tried to bring the best of ingredients locally available in Kathmandu to concoct some excellent dishes. He starts shopping for organic on Saturday, plans his menu and works hard from Sunday to Wednesday, and with what results.

There are only two choices per course (and a vegetarian extra for the mains), but diners face tough choices. Gazpacho or Fennel and Potato soup? Eggplant, Beetroot and Yoghurt Mousse or Smoked Salmon and Red Snapper Terrine? Chicken Leg or Roast Pork? Once you make your decision, you can marvel at the clever use of local spices and ingredients. How about the use of cumin in the Eggplant et al mousse and the fresh mango salsa with the terrine? If that doesn't do it for you, the thyme cream in the truffle torte should!

Chef Marut Sikka, the great Indian food consultant, has adapted local items to bring about some of the best contemporary dishes in India. Now, thanks to Kunal and Mohit, Kathmandu seems to have found its own glocalized gastronomical niche. Chef Mohit is taking off next week, but the Wednesday sagas will be back.

Foodie beed 

1. Sargam

How tremendously hard is it to cut it as a very successful chef where there is such a rude competition and folks are always put before a choice of such gorgeous varieties of original and traditional cuisine from every nook and corner of the globe exhibited to ensnare the clientele of all sorts.

Let us not clutter up with too much exotic recipes lest we get lost amongst the European recettes mainly dominated by French, Italian, Spanish and Greek, and then Asian recipes by Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thailand and Indian. Only those somewhat sophomoric guys could boast of becoming an ace of cuisine particularly in the sector of vegan recipes.

There are more and more folks turning fond of vegetarian restaurants in the Western world. Especially they are very keen to discovering something completely new and are interestingly in search of some exoticism and are finding out spirituality in Buddhism and vegetarian diets of the East.

More and more folks are getting amateurish of fruits and veggies and less meat-eating. So much so they change their ancient habits because they are becoming ecosystem friendly and meanwhile getting engaged in saving the planet to the best of their possibilities, and at the same time accepting to live on a shoestring conditions of lifestyle.

How often Nepalese are reminded that "Beggars can't be choosers." But folks are bound to be abreast of the times to be as a country respectful of the norms of international environment.

It has been proved that the livestock sector which not only does raising cattle and other animals contributes to deforestation and stain water resources, also it is responsible for nearly 20 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions which is higher than transportation as a whole.

What is even more a matter of concern is out of total production of grain only 46 percent of grains goes to feed humans while 36 percent goes to livestock.

When the meat-eating populace increase in China and the rest of the world thanks to the gain of purchasing power it contributes to deteriorating the Ozone (O3) layer by means of greenhouse effect gases.

China has to import meat from Brazil, Argentina and Australia where the cattle breeding is practiced as an industry. And raising cattle for beef is a high greenhouse gas emitting activity. It hits around 19 percent per kg of CO2 emitted for every kilogram of beef eaten.

On the other end, the methane (CH4) gas emitted from all that cattle belching and farting is about 23 times the global warming potential of CO2.

It is found that grass-fed cattle emit 50 percent more methane.

Same thing is valid with dairy cows, say, pasture-fed dairy cows and their milk or cheese from said milk. Don't those cows fart and belch methane?

HC FCs and CFCs or freon which are actually the chemical formulas for Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons and Chlorofluorocarbons respectively are used in fridge, freezer and air-conditioning. They add to Ozone (O3) depleting and, albeit causing global warming effect, industries are slow in substituting them with other more ecology-friendly gases.

All this happens when the CFC escapes from the unit, it quickly rises up to the Ozone (O3) layer in stratosphere. There it rips the Ozone (O3) apart and turns them into two Oxygen (O2) molecules bonded together.

Ozone (O3) being very reflective of the radiation from the sun, it helps keeping the surface of the planet from becoming too warm, thereby protecting those people with very delicate skin while they expose their bodies in taking sun bath causing epidermic cancer.

CFC molecule is capable of potentially destroying hundreds of thousands of Ozone (O3) molecules in its life span.

When CH4 (Methane gas) and O2 (Oxygen) are burnt with a burner the resulting products are CO2 (Carbon dioxide) and H2O (Water);

CH4 +(2)O2 => CO2+2H2O.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)