Whenever we think of Nepal, Mount Everest comes in mind. Before my introduction of Nepalese cuisine and culture, I'd must admit that my knowledge was quite limited. Nepal is located at the border of India, China and Tibet. It is a multi-racial country with different ethnic groups so there's no singular dish identified as a Nepalese dish. Nepalese cuisine encompasses the diversity of cuisines and curry is perhaps the most common dish of all.
Aagaman which means "arrival in" was how the restaurant started.The restaurant is located on the main strip of Bay Street in Port Melbourne. The restaurant comes with a fine dining experience complete with white table cloth, beautifully curated art pieces on the wall, a giant peacock as you come in.The owner and chef Ram Sapkota, came to Australia with his wife back in 2008. I'm always intrigued how people get into what they're doing. The story is almost similar from all the ones I've encountered. The early years of helping his mother in the kitchen sparked his interest in food. Ram finds his time in the kitchen gives a lot of satisfaction to him. If you've ever meet Ram, from his beaming face and belly laughter, you'll know what you're getting is a plate of joy.
I was lucky to have an introduction into Nepalese cuisine with scenes behind the kitchen. Ram demonstrated how to make the famous Nepalese dumplings called momo. The main ingredients are similar like a Chinese dumplings with finely chopped onion, ginger, cabbage but what makes it different is the spices that goes into it. He put a handful of spices from cinnamon, cumin, garam masala and many more into the mixing bowl and mixed them together. He then skilfuly folded the dumplings like a pro. I can just imagine him doing it with his eyes closed! The dumplings are then steamed and served with tomato chutney. Momo is what I call a marriage of Chinese and Indian dumpling.
Ram then moved on to show me how to make lamb kebab. He started with adding chopped onion, garlic, cabbage, coriander and spring onion and few drops of almond oil. The most fascinating scene was seeing him putting the meat on the rod into the hot tandoor oven. The oven temperature is about 180C. The meat was so tender and juicy and very flavoursome. It is served with a mint chutney.
You can see how passionate Ram is as he showed me the demonstration. He finds the hard work paid off when the customer had a good time and enjoyed his food. He said as long as the customers keep coming back, he's happy to keep running the restaurant. With delicious meals prepared from heart, I see Aagaman as a permanent resident in Port Melbourne for a long time to come.
SAT 25TH FEB 2016
Join us for a journey through Nepal with a three course banquet, a cooking demonstration by owner chef Ram Sapkota in a social dining experience.
By PhehSze (PS) Teh
Pheh Sze or more commonly known as PS, is the founder of FoodSocial. She's a part-time 'legal drug-dealer' (aka a pharmacist) but a full-time food lover entrepreneur and a philosopher at heart. When she's not in her white jacket or planning her next culinary journey, she loves to ponder about the meaning of life.