In the canon of South Asian cookbooks available in the West, Indian cuisine looms large —think Julie Sahni and Madhur Jaffrey. By contrast, “Very little has been published about Nepali cuisine,” says Santosh Shah, a Nepal-born chef who has worked in several of London’s Michelin-starred kitchens and who was a finalist on 2020’s MasterChef: The Professionals. “Until my time on MasterChef very few people knew what Nepalese cuisine was.” His forthcoming debut, Ayla, is one of a handful of spring titles that explore a variety of Himalayan cuisines.
Santosh Shah. DK, May
Shah’s 60 recipes hail from the lowlands, hills, and peaks of Nepal. He presents more familiar dishes such as chicken momos and thukpa (noodle soup) alongside lesser-known delicacies, often inspired by the produce of the country’s tropical grasslands and arid mountains, including wild mushroom soup and gourd tempura.
On the Himalayan Trail
Romy Gill. Hardie Grant, May
British Indian chef and TV presenter Gill, who writes for BBC Food and other outlets, offers an overview of Kashmiri and Ladakhi cuisines, which have distinct Afghan, Central Asian, Mughal, and Persian influences. Recipes include nadir monj (fried lotus root), kong kokur (saffron chicken), and lavasa (flat bread). Gill also illuminates the region’s political uncertainty and stresses the urgency of documenting and preserving local foodways.
Julie Kleeman and Yeshi Jampa. Interlink. Apr.
Jampa, who grew up in the Tibetan mountains, and Kleeman, who hails from London, are the married co-owners of Taste Tibet restaurant in Oxford, England. Their collection of more than 80 recipes presents traditional dishes, such as thenthuk, or hand-pulled noodles, and labu shaku (lamb stew), alongside modern creations including chocolate tsampa truffles, made from a hearty, nutty-tasting flour that is a Tibeten staple. The result, PW’s review said, is a “flavorful spin on old favorites [that] yields satisfying results.”