Food from the mountains
Two couples from Kalimpong are cooking up a storm in their cozy cottage-like restaurant behind UoH. Dishing out authentic Nepalese, Tibetan and Bhutanese dishes, Aama’s is a must-visit
Thukpa is from Tibet, momos are from Nepal and Datshi is from Bhutan. But you don’t have to go to these three countries to taste their authentic dishes. Two couples from Kalimpong in West Bengal, which is surrounded by these nations, have mastered the art of these cuisines and are cooking up a storm at their cozy cottage-like restaurant located behind the University of Hyderabad (UoH). It all started in 2015, when Priyanka Rai and her sister Darshana Rai quit their corporate jobs to make momos at home, while Priyanka’s husband Dipesh Ghimiray used to sell them at a stall behind UoH. Overwhelmed by the response, Darshana’s husband Sameer Gupta also joined them and the two couples opened a full-fledged restaurant, Aama’s which means ‘mother’ in Nepalese.
“Although we have settled in Hyderabad, our love for this cuisine stays strong. We wanted to share this love with Hyderabadis, and that’s how Aama’s was born,” says Dipesh. From serving just two-three varieties of momos, they now have eight. Wrapped in a hand-rolled translucent casing, the subtle flavours are sure to transport you to the foothills of the Himalayas. To get a taste of all the varieties, go for the momo platter.
Momos at Aama’s may be a hit among diners, but the signature dish, according to Dipesh, is the thukpa -- a watery noodle soup which was recently added to the menu. The umami from the minced meat is topped off with the zing from ginger and the dense flavours of garlic.
Another must-try is the Datshi Rice -- this Bhutanese dish made of potato and cheese is served with a wholesome portion of Nepalese rice. “Over the years, these dishes from the neighbouring countries became a part of Kalimpong’s culinary culture. But they never lost their authenticity. It’s only the plating and combination of accompaniments that differ,” Dipesh, a graduate in Computer Sciences, says.
Aama’s has the aura of a tiny hillside cafe, with Tibetian prayer flags fluttering from its ceiling. Cute little succulent plant paperweights hold the menu on every wooden table and the walls bear photos of the serene horizons of Kalimpong district which is at the foothills of the Himalayas.
Don’t miss out the handwritten notes which are all heart and an embroidered logo of the restaurant -- Aama’s, Authentic Nepalese Food. The restaurant also serves some authentic Shabhaley, Thenthuk, Shyapta, Saade ko aloo and meat curries served in Tibetan style.
Two couples from Kalimpong are cooking up a storm in their cozy cottage-like restaurant behind UoH. Dishing out authentic Nepalese, Tibetan and Bhutanese dishes, Aama’s is a must-visit. We speak to the owners about their journey and their food.