Nepalese Dal

For many years, my sister and her family hosted an elite climbing Sherpa from the Khumbu region of Nepal here on Cape Cod. Nima Tashi and his family live in the village of Pangboche, which sits at an elevation of 13,000 feet and is the highest permanent settlement on the trail to Mount Everest base camp. Nima came here to work in the summer to earn extra money to pay for his children’s private school education in Kathmandu.


Climbing is the most lucrative career for the Sherpa people, but the inherent risks are many. Nima has reached the summit of Mt. Everest over a dozen times and experienced his share of danger during those expeditions. These past two years have been especially difficult with the avalanche of 2014 and the recent earthquakes.  Thankfully, Nima and his family are all safe and working to put their lives back together but this won’t be easy. They are suffered much damage to their homes and their village.

Nepalese culture revolves around the principals of kindness, compassion, and community where coming together to share food is considered a sacred custom. The Nepalese cuisine has regional variations throughout the country, but dal bhat and steamed rice are a staple and eaten everywhere. Nima cooks at home and while on expeditions and shared several of the traditional Nepalese dishes with us. Dal is one of my favorites.

Lentils are an excellent source of protein and they’re high in fiber which can help to reduce cholesterol. They are also inexpensive, a great meat substitute and a nice addition to a vegetable soup or a salad.

Nima Tashi

Nima Tashi on top of the world

Nepalese Dal
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Nima's Dal
Recipe type: Legume
Cuisine: Nepalese
  • 1 lb of dried lentils
  • ½ sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tsp of ground ginger
  • 2 tsp of curry powder (yellow)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ bunch of chopped cilantro
  • Salt
  1. Wash the lentils and allow to drain. Chop the onion and garlic. Add a tbsp of olive oil to a sauce pan, heat, then add ½ of the chopped onion and garlic, 1 tsp of curry, 1 tsp of ground ginger, 1 tsp turmeric and a pinch of salt. Saute for about 3 minutes, then add the lentils and saute for another 3 minutes. Cover the lentils with water and cook over medium heat (gentle boil), covered, for about 20 minutes. Now add the remaining onions, garlic, ginger, curry, another pinch of salt and a little more water so the lentils are covered by about a ¼ inch of water. Continue cooking, covered, over medium heat for another 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender.
  2. Remove the cover and cook until the water is mostly absorbed. There will still be some water when you dig into the lentils. Add the chopped cilantro and combine well.
  3. Serve with you favorite rice. I prefer brown rice as it's a whole grain and is rich in anti-oxidants.

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