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Lhasa Moon Tibetan Cookbook

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Located on Lombard Street in San Francisco's Marina District, Lhasa Moon is one of the finest Tibetan restaurants in the West. A unique mix of Asian influences and Tibetan regional ones, its cuisine delights vegetarians and meat lovers alike. This cookbook of the restaurant's most popular dishes includes recipes for soups, snacks and appetizers, the famous Tibetan momos, popular noodle dishes, tsampa and breads, sweets, and beverages. It also provides an excellent overview of the foods grown in Tibet with their ...
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Located on Lombard Street in San Francisco's Marina District, Lhasa Moon is one of the finest Tibetan restaurants in the West. A unique mix of Asian influences and Tibetan regional ones, its cuisine delights vegetarians and meat lovers alike. This cookbook of the restaurant's most popular dishes includes recipes for soups, snacks and appetizers, the famous Tibetan momos, popular noodle dishes, tsampa and breads, sweets, and beverages. It also provides an excellent overview of the foods grown in Tibet with their special climate and regional variations; foreign influences; daily meals; the types of household kitchens; food served in monasteries; and food for Tibetan celebrations. A section on special ingredients and substitutions is also included.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One of San Francisco's top 100 restaurants!"—San Francisco Chronicle

"I was delighted by the range and depth of the cuisine in Tsering's cookbook and after cooking some of the food I can certainly see why her restaurant in San Francisco is so popular."—The Austin Chronicle

"The best general introduction to Tibetan cooking available to home cooks. . . . The dinners are quite ecstatic."—The Asian Foodbookery

Library Journal
It's probably safe to say that few libraries--or cooks--have a Tibetan cookbook on their shelves. Lhasa Moon is a Tibetan restaurant in San Francisco, and Wangmo, its owner, and writer Houshmand have put together a collection of 80 recipes that will serve as an introduction to Tibetan food for most readers. Chiles (lots of them), garlic, ginger, Szechuan peppercorns, and cilantro are favorite flavorings. Wangmo has modified some dishes for American tastes, created more vegetarian dishes than one typically finds in Tibetan cooking, and adapted recipes as necessary to Western ingredients. However, sidebars are careful to describe the authentic versions, and chapter introductions--and photographs and line drawings throughout--provide more context. For specialized international cookery collections and larger libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559391047
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Pages: 150
  • Sales rank: 1,447,304
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Zara Houshmand is an Iranian-American writer. She is active in modern Iranian theater as well as traditional Balinese puppetry, and her own plays have been produced in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. She cooks compulsively for friends and especially enjoys cooking for retreats.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Cheese Soup


The mixture of hot chili with the pungent,mold-ripened churu cheese, after which thesoup is named, is a uniquely Tibetan combinationof flavors. Blue cheese makes agood substitute for churu.

    This recipe is popular in the region ofKongpo, where it is usually eaten for breakfastwith tsampa dough.


1/2 onion, chopped
oil for frying
1 tomato
1 jalapeño chili
2 tablespoons blue cheese or Churu, page 118
1/4 lb. chopped beef
1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1/4 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground emma (Sichuan pepper)
5 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch

Fry the onion in oil till brown and soft. Add thepaprika, garlic, and ginger and fry briefly. Add themeat, stirring constantly, and then add the chili justbefore the meat is fully cooked. Turn the heat downlow and add the cheese. When the cheese hasmelted, add the tomato and water. Mix the cornstarchin a little extra water (about 1/4 cup) and pourit into the soup while stirring. Bring to the boilwhile stirring and remove from the heat as soon asthe soup has thickened slightly.

Roasted Potato Soup (*)

Shogo Tang

This soup is best when the potatoes areroasted in the ashes of the cooking fire. Youcan reproduce the smoky flavor by broilingthe potatoes until they are slightly charred.Don't use a blender or the mixture willbegummy.


3 potatoes (use large waxy potatoes or smallish
baking potatoes)
1 tablespoon butter
1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4-5 dried red chilies, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground emma (Sichuan pepper)
4-5 cups water, broth, or Tibetan tea
1 green onion, chopped

Broil the potatoes until brown and slightly charred,turning once. This will take about 40 minutes.When they are done, and cool enough to handle,peel them and chop the skins.

    Fry the garlic, ginger, chili, and emma togetherin butter in a soup pot. Add the potatoes andchopped potato skins, and mash them with thespices, adding the liquid gradually. The potatoesshould be slightly chunky. Heat thoroughly, stirringto prevent sticking.

    Sprinkle chopped green onion on each serving.

Roasted Eggplant Soup (*)

Duluma Jen

Eggplant does not grow in Tibet, but it isvery common in India. This recipe, from theTibetan settlement at Bylakuppe in southernIndia, shows how traditional cookingmethods have been adapted for the unfamiliarproduce found by the Tibetans inexile. Very similar in technique to the traditionalShogo Tang (Roasted Potato Soup,page 23), the smoky flavor suits the eggplantvery well and stands up to the fierceheat of the chilies. "We sweat when we eatthis!" says Tsering, who uses half a cup ofchili for four people, but a more subtle versionwith less chili is also very good.


3-4 Japanese eggplants, or 1 large globe eggplant
1 tablespoon butter
I inch fresh ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4-5 dried red chilies, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground emma (Sichuan pepper)
1 tomato
4-5 cups water, broth, or Tibetan tea
1 green onion, chopped

Cut Japanese eggplant in half lengthwise or globeeggplant in 1/2-inch slices. Brush the cut sides witha little melted butter. Broil until brown and slightlycharred, turning once.

    Remove the charred skins from the eggplant andgrind the flesh briefly in a blender or mortar andpestle. If you use a blender, add 1 cup of the water,broth, or tea to blend easily. It is best if still slightlylumpy, with a few flecks of skin remaining.

    Fry the garlic, ginger, chili, and emma togetherin butter in a soup pot. Chop the tomato and add itto the fried mixture along with the eggplant. Continuecooking, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.Stir in the remaining liquid and heat through.

    Sprinkle chopped green onion on each serving.

Corn Soup (*)

Ashom Tang

Corn soup is popular in Dharamsala,served with slight variations at many of thecafes and restaurants that cater to travelersin this colorful mountain town that is theheart of the Tibet community in exile.


1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 square (12 oz.) firm tofu
3 cobs fresh corn and 1 tablespoon cornstarch,
      or 1 15-oz. can creamed corn and 1/2 cup frozen
      (or canned) whole kernel corn, drained
4 cups water
1 green onion, chopped

Sauté the onion in butter or oil in a soup pot untilbrown and soft. Add the paprika, garlic, and gingerand cook briefly. Add the tomato and the tofu,cut into small cubes, along with the water. If usingfresh corn, cut it from the cob and add it to the pot,along with the cornstarch mixed in a little extrawater. If using canned and/or frozen corn, addthem both now. Bring to a boil, and simmer for aminute, stirring to prevent sticking.

    Sprinkle chopped green onion on each serving.

Milarepa's Nettle Soup (*)


The story of the twelfth-century saintMilarepa holds a special place in the heartsof Tibetans. Wronged by greedy relatives,he studied magic to wreak vengeance. Theeffect was so spectacularly successful thatremorse moved him to seek enlightenment,suffering endless ordeals to prove his devotionto his teacher. His legacy includes thehundreds of Dharma poems that he composedextemporaneously, still sung todaywith the simple and powerful beauty offolksongs.

    Milarepa's ascetic practices included adiet of nettles, remembered in this soupfrom western Tibet. The toxin that causesnettles to sting is destroyed by cooking. Theleaves are rich in iron and vitamin C, andalso contain protein.

    In Dharamsala, if you wake up early youmight see elderly women using small metaltongs of scissors to pick nettles by the roadside,choosing the smallest, most tenderleaves from the top of the plant. Early morningis the best time, of course, to avoid runninginto neighbors who turn up their nosesat the idea of eating weeds.


6 cups broth or water
1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground emma (Sichuan pepper)
1 lb. nettle leaves
salt to taste

Boil the broth or water with the ginger, garlic, andemma. Fill another pot with water and bring it tothe boil. Dump the nettles into the boiling water toblanche them for a moment. Remove from the heatand immediately drain the nettles, squeezing outany excess water. Chop the greens and add themto the spiced broth. Let it boil again for a few minutesand add salt to taste.

Excerpted from THE LHASA MOON TIBETAN COOKBOOK by Tsering Wangmo and Zara Houshmand. Copyright © 1999 by Tsering Wangmo and Zara Houshmand. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 9
Ingredients and Amounts 17
Cheese Soup (Churu) 22
Roasted Potato Soup (Shogo Tang) (*) 23
Roasted Eggplant Soup (Duluma Jen) (*) 24
Corn Soup (Ashom Tang) (*) 25
Milarepa's Nettle Soup (Sabtuk) (*) 26
Snacks and Appetizers
Beef Jerky (Sha Kampu) 28
Spicy River Fish (Nya Taba) 29
Pancakes with Bean Thread and Vegetable Filling (Ping
Alla) (*) 30
Daikon Slices (Labtak) (*) 32
Mung Bean Gelatin (Le-ping) (*) 33
Fried Pork Ribs (Paksha Tsima) 34
Crispy Chicken Bites (Chasha Katsa) 35
Cabbage Salad (Tangtse) (*) 36
Stuffed Dumplings (Momo)
Basic Momo Dough, Shaping and Cooking Momos 37
Beef Momo Filling (Sha Momo) 40
Chicken Momo Filling (Chasha Momo) 41
Vegetable Momo Filling (Tse Momo) (*) 42
Spinach Momo Filling (Tsoma Momo) (*) 43
Spinach and Cheese Momo Filling (Tse tang Chura Momo)(*) 44
Beef Pastries (Sha Paley) 45
Vegetable Pastries (Tse Paley)(*) 46
Noodle Dishes (Tukpa)
Basic Tukpa Broth (*) 48
Vegetable Tukpa Broth (*) 48
Pulled Noodles in Beef Soup (Tentuk) 49
Pulled Noodles in Vegetable Soup (Tse Tentuk) (*) 50
Egg Noodles in Beef Soup (Gutse Rituk) 51
Egg Noodles in Vegetable Soup (Tse Gutse Rituk) 52
Momo Soup (Motuk) 53
Vegetable Momo Soup (Motuk Tse) (*) 54
Holiday Dumpling Soup (Peeshi) 55
Flat Noodles in Beef Soup (Tukpa Chitsi) 56
Flat Noodles in Vegetable Broth (Tse Chitsi Tukpa) 56
Fried Noodles (Tukpa Ngopa) (*) 57
Cracked Wheat Porridge (Drotuk) 58
Rice Porridge (Dretuk) 59
Barley Porridge (Tsampa Tukpa, or Tsamtuk) 60
Meat Dishes (Sha)
Beef Stew with Bean Thread Noodles (Ping Sha) 62
Mushrooms with Beef and Mixed Vegetables (Sesha) 63
Lamb Curry (Luksha Shamdeh) 64
Chicken Curry (Chasha Shamdeh) 65
Lamb with Daikon (Labu Dikrul) 66
Himalayan Chicken (Chasha Himalaya) 68
Potatoes with Stir-fried Beef (Shogo Ngopa) 69
Browned Beef with Vegetables (Shaptak) 70
Kongpo-style Browned Beef (Kongpo Shaptak) 71
Boiled Pork (Paksha Tsoba) 72
Pork with Daikon (Paksha Labu) 73
String Beans with Beef (Tema tang Sha) 74
Chayote with Beef (Iskus) 75
Tibetan Hot Pot (Gyakor) 76
Cabbage Stir-fry (Logo Petse tang Sha) 78
Vegetable Dishes (Tse)
String Beans with Potatoes (Tema) (*) 80
Greens with Tofu (Tse Tofu) (*) 81
Bean Thread Noodles with Vegetables (Tse Ping) (*) 82
Potatoes with Peas (Tse Shogo) (*) 83
Mushrooms with Mixed Vegetables (Tse Sesha) (*) 84
Vegetable Rainbow (Tse Nenzom) (*) 85
Vegetarian Cabbage Stir-fry (Logo Petse) (*) 86
Vegetable Curry (Tse Gyakar) (*) 87
Eggplant with Potatoes (Duluma Tse) 88
Breads and Tsampa
Flat Bread (Paley) (*) 90
Hollow Bread (Loko Momo) (*) 91
Steamed Bread (Tingmo) (*) 92
Amdo Bread (Amdo Paley) (*) 93
Pancakes (Alla) (*) 94
Parched Barley Flour (Tsampa) (*) 95
Sweets and Desserts
Sweet Buttered Rice (Desi) (*) 98
Caramel Cheese Pasta (Patsa Maku ) (*) 99
Sweet Cheese Dumplings (Minya Polo) (*) 101
Festive Fried Pastries (Kapseh) (*) 102
Extra Special Festive Fried Pastries (Sanga Paley) (*) 105
Buttered Tea (Poecha) (*) 108
Sweet Yogurt Shake (Tara) (*) 110
Spiced Tea (Chai) (*) 110
Barley Beer (Chang) (*) 111
Mulled Barley Beer (Chang Kue) (*) 113
Fresh Cheese (Chuship) (*) 116
Dried Cheese (Churkam) (*) 117
Ripened Cheese (Churu) (*) 118
Chili Sauces and Pickles (Sibeh) Cheeses
Chili Sauce with Cheese (Churu Sibeh) (*) 120
Coriander Chili Sauce (Sonam Penzom Sibeh) (*) 121
Soaked Chilis (Sibeh Pang-ja) (*) 122
Pickled Vegetables (Tangtse Nyipa) (*) 123
Illustration credits 124
(*) Vegetarian dishes are indicated by this symbol
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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted March 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good Starting Point--But Eased up some for Western Eaters

    The Lhasa Moon cookbook comes from a restaurateur who turned traditional techniques and dishes into popular meals in San Francisco. For the home-cook the collection is an interesting offering. Your current experience and tastes will determine if the recipes inspire or leave you wishing for more. The introduction and cultural education information highlights the interesting aspects of the book. The author brings you into the practices and influences that created the basis for the recipes. I learned a number of things—the information is engaging and well-written. Layout and style in the book represent an older tradition. As a result line drawings make up most of the graphics. Each page basically represents one recipe, but the style is dual columns on each page. Many cooks will find the newer style easier to follow. The flavors are also an interesting split in this book. For those just beginning their journey on exploring the tastes of Asian cooking styles, the recipes can open a door on new techniques and combinations. Offering a variety of fillings for classic Momos or dumplings, The Lhaso Moon Tibetan Cookbook is a great opportunity to explore recognized techniques and those that go some beyond this arena. Individuals with a solid base in the spices and tastes bridging Indian and Chinese cooking would be well-served to choose a book with fewer adjustments for a basic, Western palate. You can have a lot of fun with this cookbook—I know we did. Thanks to so many interesting cookbooks, a bunch of my friends got together to help me test out some interesting flavors. My philosophy of food is Cook! Eat! Laugh! With your friends…and that’s just what we did. As a result, a top pick from this book came to forefront. The "Roasted Eggplant Soup" impressed everyone. The comments included, “Yummy. Comforting. Great Texture.”

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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