Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Gourmet Guy

Indian Chai/Chicken Curry
By Pemba Sherpa – Sherpa Café, Gunnison and Crested Butte
(Dedicated to the people of Nepal)

Indian Chai
(Makes five cups)
1/4 cup of Chai tea leaves or seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
About 1/4 cup of cardamom seeds
(Break up the cardamom to release the flavor)
Small piece of ginger
2-3 pinches of black pepper
About 1 tablespoon of sugar
1 or more liters of milk (depending on how strong you want the Chai)
2 cups of water

In a pot, mix Chai tea leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, black pepper, sugar and water. Bring to a boil for at least a minute, then add the milk and bring to a boil again. Strain the liquid into a cup, and the Chai is ready.

Chicken Curry
(Serves 3-4)
12 pieces of chicken (breast, leg or thigh, whichever you prefer)
2 tablespoons of Indian Curry Masala
1 tablespoon each of turmeric, chicken base, chopped garlic and chopped ginger
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of soybean oil, regular oil or butter
1 white onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped

Coat the pan with oil or butter. When the oil is hot, put in the cumin and heat it up for about 30 seconds. Add the onions and sauté them until they are translucent. After that, add Curry Masala, turmeric, chicken base, salt, garlic and ginger, and stir. Add a cup of water and the tomatoes. After the water is boiling, add the chicken and stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for at least 10-15 minutes. Check to see if the chicken is done (it should be white inside).
One can also add some vegetables like spinach, carrots, cauliflower or potatoes for variety.


About the Chef – Pemba Sherpa
(Provided by his son, Tshering, a student at Western State Colorado University)
“We used to have a chef from Nepal who taught my dad everything about cooking Nepalese and Indian food. He left for Nepal about a year ago due to family issues. Now my dad does all the cooking. People think he is a great chef. My dad also worked at a lot of Indian restaurants on the Front Range as a chef’s helper, back in the days before he moved to Crested Butte for the mountains. He also believes that good, delicious foods are made if you add lots of love in the making of the food, and that is what he does.”

There are two Sherpa Cafés in Gunnison County:

323 East Tomichi Ave. in Gunnison
313 3rd Street in Crested Butte

Pemba also works as a guide in the Himalayas and runs Alpine Adventures International from his home in Crested Butte.

Where to Donate

As many of you know, Nepal was rocked by two devastating earthquakes in May, and relief is badly needed in that country. Tshering Sherpa, who is the son of Pemba, and also works at the Sherpa Café, recommends the following agencies to make donations.

The dZi Foundation – Based in Ridgway, Colorado, they have been working in Nepal for the last 17 years, and are a 501(c)3 in the U.S. and a registered International Non Government Organization with the Nepal government.

Their core programs include: water projects, toilets, bridges, community centers and agricultural initiatives. In addition, they are taking on the rebuilding of 20 schools that have been damaged in their project area. The new schools will be built to the earthquake resistant standards that they’ve employed over the past three years. The three community centers and six schools they built over the last three years were all undamaged in both the first and second earthquakes. Please visit

The American Himalayan Foundation – A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, they build and support schools and students; train doctors and fund hospitals; care for children and elders; and plant trees and restore sacred sites for Sherpas and Nepalis. They also help Tibetans rebuild and sustain their culture, both in exile and in Tibet. Donate at