Phopke, Thakali dessert
The Thakali community of Nepal is considered to be one of the richest communities when it comes to the culinary assests of the member, especially the females. Their (cook’s) expertise in food and traditional recipes has resulted in the successful operation of most of the Thakali restaurants in Kathmandu. There are hundreds of Thakali restaurants around Kathmandu that specializes solely in the Thakali recipes. To have a taste of traditional Nepali cuisine, a Thakali restaurant is the best place to couch in.
From the appetizers to main meal to desserts, they have their own recipes that have been successful to lure those foodies who has had the taste of a Thakali restaurant before. Among the various, one of the recipes of a Thakali dessert named Phopke (fermented rice), which is a delicious and slightly intoxicating dessert, is given below:
The ingredients that you need to make this dish includes some ferment starter (marcha) which is similar to Tibetan chyang (beer) starter or Sourdough starter or you can also use a little softened baker’s yeast; white rice that is slightly sticky or Pearl rice, but not as sticky rice as Laotian or Cambodian sticky rice, sugar to taste and oil to fry.
First of all, wash the rice and throw the first wash water. Now, wash it again and stir-squeeze it with your hands this time to squeeze out more starch. Then boil the rice but do not overcook it and do not use any amount salt. Let the rice cool down and when it does, put it into a glass or porcelain bowl and stir in the starter. Now, cover it lightly and leave in a warm place for two to days to ferment.
When it has been fermented, warm a little ghee in a pan, add the fermented rice and a little sugar (according to your taste) and fry it lightly. Put it into small cups and serve your dessert warm.
Some Thakalis also use fried tiny pieces churpi (hard yak cheese of the tough variety) and serve the phopke over it. Also, to make it extra special, a little ghee is added to the warm phopke.