Hearty dishes are a mainstay of Tibetan cuisine, where the climate inspires warming dishes with a high energy content. Photo by Ola O. Smit. 

Taste Tibet: Potato and chickpea breakfast bowl

Tibetan comfort food at its finest, this guest recipe by Julie Kleeman and Yeshi Jampa makes a hearty breakfast or brunch.

This is such a comforting dish, and it makes the best of all hangover cures. The contrast between textures results in a taste explosion – a bomb, you might say. If you want the dish to have a more curry-like consistency, add a little boiling water during the latter stages of cooking. 

Serves 4-6


2 white potatoes, about 350 g washed but not peeled, diced  

2 tablespoons cooking oil  

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds  

1–2 fresh green chillies, thinly sliced, seeds removed  

1 teaspoon salt  

1/2 red onion, finely chopped 

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped  

3 tomatoes, diced  

400 g cooked chickpeas – tinned or cooked from dried  

¼ teaspoon turmeric  

Chopped coriander (cilantro), to garnish – optional  


Put the potatoes into a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook until tender.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the cumin and toss for about 30 seconds, then add the chillies and salt, quickly followed by the onion and garlic. Stir well, then turn the heat up to high and cook until the garlic and onions are visibly soft and and golden brown.

Now add the tomatoes and stir well. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low-medium and allow to reduce for several minutes, until you have a thick sauce. Using a slotted spoon, fish the cooked potatoes out of the water and add them to the wok, pushing them down quite hard into the tomatoes, almost mashing them. You’re aiming for a consistency that will work well as a dip. If you are using chickpeas from a tin, drain and rinse them.

Add the chickpeas to the wok, along with the turmeric. Stir everything together, then serve – garnished with coriander, if you like.  

Taste Tibet: Family recipes from the Himalayas by Julie Kleeman with Yeshi Jampa (Murdoch Books, £25) is out now.  


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