It’s been two years since Kamala Gauchan, my adopted Nepalese mother, decamped from Queens’ Himalayan Heights to Manhattan’s Curry Hill. Back when she held court in her shoebox of a restaurant carved out of a corner of Tawa Roti I ate her food weekly. These days I trek to her roomier spot on Lexington Avenue whenever I have a dental appointment. Which happened to be the case during Monday’s snow storm.
After a filling, it was time to fill my belly. When I entered Dhaulaghiri Kitchen, Gauchan and her crew had just opened for the day and a mantra to Ganesh—Om Gan Ganapataye Namo Namah—played over and over on the flat screen next to a signed photo of Andrew Zimmern. For a moment I considered jhol momo—dumplings in a spicy broth—but I knew soup was the ticket for a wintry spring morning.
Ultimately I decided on goat sukuti thentuk ($11). Back in her smaller quarters I’d eaten plenty of soup made with the musky goat jerky, but always with instant wai wai noodles. I figured it was as good a day as any to try my Nepalese’s mom’s thentuk, a hand-torn noodle.
In the center of the bowl was a heap of sukuti surrounded by thentuk in a steaming red broth. Elsewhere thentuk are chewy postage-stamp sized swatches of dough, but Gauchan’s are longer, less chewy, and more noodlelike. Garlic, chili, and onion combined with the almost cheeselike goat jerky, potatoes, and chicken soup to make for a most restorative bowl.
When I was about halfway through I noticed some Nepalese guys slurping chicken thentuk at the next table. Their seasoning of choice was ground timur, a tongue-tinging cousin of Sichuan peppercorn. I might try that combo it next time I visit my Nepalese Mom, unless I go for the jhol momo.
Dhaulaghiri Kitchen, 124 Lexington Ave., 917-675-7678