Thiksey Village, Leh, Ladakh, India
I got introduced to this traditional Ladakhi dish, ‘Sku’ while staying with a family in Thiksey Village.
Was wandering in the village and asking directions for a guesthouse when I was invited to stay with the family. At first I was hesitant when Stanzen, the man of house offered his place while taking his horse back to the household, but I was warmly welcomed by each member of the family, along with the two cute kids, Tsetan and Yangdol who helped carry my bag to the family living room where I stayed for a few days. That’s Ladakhi hospitality for you, very open and friendly people.
Sku is made from local wheat flour (with unusual yellowish tone) and water and served with a vegetable broth. This hearty dish is something like a vegetarian pasta stew like gnocchi (potato pasta), a very simple dish that is helped by the incredibly sweet peas tomato and potato. All local vegetables harvested from the family’s various fields. These organic produce taste amazingly sweet and favor some. While peeling the vegetables I was constantly popping these deliciously sweet raw peas. I snacked on these constantly when I was in Leh, organic vegetables taste simply better than mass produce ones, if anyone doubt how organic vegetables taste better, they should come to Ladakh and eat these tasty vegetables raw!
Jigmat the lady of the house and Palmo, the sister in law who is currently a resident teacher at a Changtang village. She normally returns home during the weekend and cooks all her favorite dishes. Here we are sharing a cup of butter tea and while making Sku. As I didn’t eat red meat, Palmo decide to make Sku instead of cooking a mutton dish.
The dough is kneeled into cylinder then shaped into these little noodle by the thumb. Palmo was teaching me how to shape the noodle. She does it in one swift skillful motion while my part of the Sku suffered with my clumsy unskillful hands.
The broth sauteed with diced tomato and onions before adding the other vegetables and further flavored by other spices like saffron. The Sku is boiled along with the potatos until soft.
This pasta stew is hearty and very healthy dish often eaten during the bitter cold winter months where temperature averages -20 to 30 degree celsius. Sometimes the broth is made from mutton or beef bones along with dried vegetables that is harvested during summer.