This is a sour, hot and spicy soup made from potatoes, fermented bamboo shoots and black-eyed beans. It is one of the popular Newa dishes, and enjoyed almost all year round in Newar communities. It is usually eaten as a side dish with beaten rice, wo, rice or samaybaji. Aalu tama is a common Nepali name but it is known as chhon-kwa in Newa language. Chhon means bamboo shoot and kwa generally refers to hot soup or stew. Fermented bamboo shoots give peculiar sourness to the soup.
3-4 medium-sized potatoes
1 cup fermented bamboo shoots
1 cup black-eyed beans (bodi)
2 medium size tomatoes
2-3 fresh green/red chilies
1 ½ tbs cumin and coriander powder mix
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbs ginger paste
1 tbs garlic paste
1 medium size onion
2-3 tbs vegetable oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ fenugreek seeds
*serves 4-5 people
Soak the beans overnight. Boil the soaked beans and potatoes until cooked.
Heat 2-3 tbs of vegetable oil in a cooking pot, and fry cumin and fenugreek seeds. Add chopped onion, ginger paste and garlic paste, and cook it until light brown. Then add halved fresh chilies and ½ tsp of turmeric powder.
Add a cup of fermented bamboo shoot and fry it for a minute. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft. Add 1 ½ tbs of cumin and coriander powder mix and a tsp of red chilies powder.
Add chopped boiled potato (skin removed) and beans. Add salt according to your taste, and cook the ingredients stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes.
Pour 3-4 cups of water, and cook it for around 15 minutes over medium-low heat. The tangy, hot and spicy soup is ready to be served.
(Please note that fermented bamboo shoots are already sour in taste, so it is not necessary to add lime/lemon juice)