I love soup or stew dishes in this arctic-like weather. Tsampa soup was the first thing I saw after the Tibetan bone broth and I just had to make this. This soup can be a full meal itself. Tsampa is the roasted barley ground into flour, which is a Tibetan staple. I seriously think that this is one of the best thing to add to the soup. It gives the soup a different feel and taste. Fragrant and almost nutty I must say. I love it. You can substitute with barley flour, but I won’t if I were you. Toasting the barley and ground them into the flour is really not that hard.

This tsampa soup is a Lhasa (one of the cities in Tibet) version, made with strips of steak to substitute for yak meat. I seriously love this tsampa soup so much. It’s different in a good way. It’s not difficult to make if you do a little preparation ahead of time.


TSAMPA SOUP/TSAM-THUK (4 to 5 servings as main course)
What you will need:
  • 1½ cups Tsampa, or substitute 1 cup barley flour, dry-roasted in a skillet until golden
  • ¼ lb daikon radish (about ½ small radish) -
  • 6 cups Tibetan Bone Broth
  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil, vegetable oil, or butter
  • ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ to ¾ lb boneless beef round or sirloin steak, cut into strips about 1½ to 2 inches long and ¼ inch wide
  • 2 to 3 cups water
  • 2 to 2½ tsp salt, or to taste (see NOTE)
  • 1½ to 2 cups baby spinach leaves or coarsely chopped regular spinach
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  1. To make sure your tsampa or roasted flour is fine enough, pass it through a fine sieve. Set aside
  2. Peel the daikon radish, then grate it on a coarse grater into long strands. Set aside
  3. Pour 3 cups of the broth into a wide heavy pot (4 quarts is a good size) and bring to a boil. Add the tsampa or roasted flour and stir until smooth. Add the remaining 3 cups broth and bring to a boil. Add the radish strands and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes
  4. Meanhile, heat the oil or butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute gently for several minutes. Add the meat strips and ½ tsp salt, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, turning once, just until the beef has changed color, about 3 minutes total. Use tongs to lift out the meat and set it aside on a plate. Add the onion and oil or butter to the soup
  5. To deglaze the skillet, place the pan over high heat, add 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to detach any browned bits of caramelized juices, then add the flavored water to the soup. (The recipe can be prepared ahead to this point and set aside for up to 1 hour. Or let cool, and refrigerate for up to 36 hours. Bring the soup to a simmer before proceeding)
  6. Add 1 cup more water to the soup and bring back to a simmer. Add the meat and bring back to a simmer. Add extra water if you wish a thinner broth. Taste for salt and add up to 2 more teaspoons if necessary. Add the spinach leaves to the simmering broth. When they turn bright green, after a minute or two, add the butter and stir to blend it in
  7. Serve the soup hot in large bowls, with bread, or with rice if you prefer
NOTES: A number of recipes in Lhasa cooking use soy sauce. These tend to be wealthy people's versions of traditional dishes. People in the country, or those with less money, would usually not include city refinements, such as soy sauce and a greater variety of vegetables. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp soy sauce; it gives an extra depth of flavor


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