tsampa (རྩམ་པ—rtsam pa)

Tsampa is Tibetan barley flour. It is a unique, staple food with great cultural significance for the Tibetan people.

Traditionally, tsampa is made from pearled, or hulled, barley roasted in a pan with sand then strained. Sand is optional and helps heat barley evenly, but it is most important to stir barley constantly as it cooks. Once roasted, the barley is ground in a deep mortar or another grinding device. The powder created is called tsampa, ready to be used or stored for long trips.

Commonly, tsampa is mixed into water or tea to make a quick, edible dough. It can also be made into cakes, porridge, and other dishes and even eaten dry. It is also known as a fast source of energy. Because of its convenience, portability, and nutrition, it is particularly great for long journeys or a nomadic lifestyle.


(serves 2)

2 cup pearled barley

• heat sand
• add barley
• stir
• sift sand from barley
• grind