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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

A lesson in holistic Himalayan cooking

We focus mainly on Tibetan and northern Indian food such as momo dumplings and the noodle soups you find in Sikkim…

By Bhawana Adhikari
Garden Designer and Farm Consultant

At Bamboo Retreat, we’re perfectly positioned in the fertile foothills of the Himalayas to showcase our ethnic cuisine. We focus mainly on Tibetan and northern Indian food such as momo dumplings and the noodle soups you find in Sikkim.

When you arrive at the retreat, we offer a range of herbal teas including mint and stevia grown from our garden. If it’s a sunny day we put a table out on the lawn from which you can admire the city of Gangtok surrounded by mountains and acres of lush green farmland.

Here, we like to promote cuisine that’s been forgotten with time. For example, we had a lady from Gangtok come to visit us who said she’d was unable to remember how to make a very traditional dish called khuri (a buckwheat pancake). She’d even forgotten the taste of it. Once we showed her how to do it, she stayed for two weeks enjoying our classes.

We have the benefit of our own farm which makes for the freshest lunches using cow peas, mung beans and fava beans which we make dal out of. We also grow pumpkins that we make into soup, millet for pancakes and, of course, green vegetables used in every lunch.

We like to endorse the more unusual vegetables native to Sikkim that aren’t as widely used as, say, spinach – for example, water cress and four different types of nettles which we make into soup. Our secret ingredient? Our fantastic cook who comes from a regional tribal group. She knows exactly how to prepare each dish and how to enhance the flavours.

You don’t have to be a great cook to join our class but you need to be willing to explore your culinary horizons. You’ll learn just how simple it is to prepare a healthy and delicious meal. It’s lovely because everyone’s relaxed and friendly. This probably comes as no surprise in an area close to the famous Rumtkek Monastery. If you wanted, we could add in a meditation session before or after lunch with a Buddhist monk who can give you an introduction into the art and offer some pointers.

Otherwise, people can explore our orchards and gardens growing herbs for medicine, edible flowers, and fruit out of which we make jams. Is there a better way to spend the afternoon?

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Alfred & Bhawana Adhikari

Having completed masters' degrees in English Literature and Law, Bhawana followed her passion for cuisine and is an integral part of the team at Bamboo Retreat designing culinary classes for guests. She works alongside the hotel’s manager, Suraj Basnet.