Tibetan Bread

2007.11.01 Tibetan Bread

I wouldn’t say Nepal is the best destination if you are looking for culinary adventures, though it is pretty good. Staples include Indian dishes like curries and dal bhat, Newari (ethnic group) dishes, and momos (like steamed/fried dumplings).

One of my favorite, albeit simple, was advertised as ‘Tibetan bread.’ I didn’t really notice it until we were well into the mountains on my trek. Basically, it’s just a simple flat bread that is fried in a little butter or oil. Depending on the cook it ranges from crispy to doughy and is quite delicious.

I found the following recipe for a Central Tibetan style bread, called Balep Korkun, that looks about right. I’d love to hear if anyone has any other ways of making this.

Tibetan Bread Recipe

This recipe makes 4 pieces of bread (about two people).


  • Two cups of flour (Any kind of flour is okay, like wheat, all-purpose, or self-rising. If you use all-purpose flour, you will need a bit of baking powder.)
  • One tablespoon of baking powder
  • One cup of water

For the most simple version of this bread, you mix the flour and a little water very well by hand and keep adding water until you can make a smooth ball of dough. If you like, add a bit of butter or applesauce to the flour before you add water for special flavor (I imagine yak butter gives the most authentic flavor). Knead the dough very well until the it is flexible.

When you have finished kneading the dough, separate it into four pieces and roll them into ball shapes. Then leave the dough balls in a container with a lid on for fifteen to twenty minutes.

After that, place one of the ball shapes on a flat surface and roll it out with a rolling pin, making a flat, round shape about 1/2″ to 3/4″ high. Repeat with all your dough.

Cook in a large non-stick pan with some no-stick spray. You can use a little oil or butter if you want. First, heat up the frying pan until it gets hot. Turn down the heat to medium, put the bread in the pan and cover it with a lid. Cook 15 minutes on medium heat. You should turn over the bread every four or five minutes, so both sides of the bread get cooked well.


[original recipe]
[flat bread recipe]


#1 Pete on 05.27.09 at 11:46 PM

I was in Nepal last year and had some wonderful corn bread in a place called Bahandanda, or some such spelling! I have tried a few times to recreate this bread, but its not quite right yet. Anyway, the way i do it is just like this bread, but i use half mais flour (very fine) and half flour. And then i make it the same way as you have done here. Its yummy! Thanks for putting this here!

#2 Stephanie on 06.08.09 at 1:10 AM

I can’t wait to try this…I loved that bread when I was in Nepal and have had a hard time finding a recipe for something close to it! Thanks!

#3 Szilvia on 09.02.09 at 10:37 PM

I am just back from Nepal… i loved tibetan bread… I have a local newspaper with the following receipe:
For 1 kilo flour: mix about 75% aata (wheat flour) and 25% maida (plain flour)
4 eggs
50 gm butter
0.5 l water
2 tablespoons dry yeast
salt and honey to taste

Mix all ingredients and keep it in a polythene bag for an hour. Then roll it and cook over slow heat.

I’ve not tried yet but sounds good…

enjoy 🙂

#4 Mandy on 01.13.11 at 7:09 AM

Sounds great! This was the best trekking breakfast while we were in the Himal. Can’t wait to try it out.

#5 Peter on 01.23.11 at 5:03 PM

This bread was awesome, and I too have been looking for a recipe to bring Nepal back home a little bit. My favorite “snack” was gurung bread (Tibetan bread) wrapped around a snickers bar… such a yummy dessert after a long days trek!! Thanks for the recipes!

#6 Népal: bilan « A l'aventure … on 05.06.11 at 2:07 AM

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#7 Lobsang Wangdu on 11.24.11 at 1:07 PM

Hi Tyler,

I am happy that you like Tibetan bread, and that you seem to like my recipe for balep korkun. I note that you edited it slightly, but it is obviously my recipe (down to my comment about adding butter or applesauce for flavor). I would really appreciate it if you added a credit to my site in your post: http://www.yowangdu.com/tibet/tibetan-food-recipes/tibetan-bread.html Thank you if you can do that!

#8 Lee on 02.04.12 at 4:52 PM

I also discover the Tibetan bread in my travellers in Nepal , I,m so please to find the recipe on your site

#9 Chrissy Mama on 04.12.12 at 6:21 AM

I’ve made this recipe twice now–once with a recipe that called for it to be put in a cold skillet. Result was…well, adequate but a flatbread. Tried it again with a hot skillet and all four little breads came out marvelously–even though the recipe had NO SALT…strange. I added a bit of feta cheese and chopped green olives to the recipe and it came out very tasty…and the skillet method allowed for a delightful result with a slight rise.

But salt…for buddha’s sake!

#10 Margarita on 08.12.12 at 11:00 PM

I don’t understand why this part of Asia; Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan didn’t work on or just didn’t care about cuisine. Tibet did wonders on exploring the mind, but their art is plainly painting by numbers, not too creative. This goes for their cuisine, nothing special. Their argument is that they have limited resources, but they could have come up with better food ideas even with the limited resources. i feel that no one cared enough to develop a cuisine. They were much more concerned about religion, prayer and expanding the mind. Cuisine is prayer, and I do mean’t saying prayers while you cook.

#11 Openingyourheartwillopenyourmind on 08.23.12 at 9:20 PM

Margarita, you’ve clearly not experienced much of the food of this part of the world – to make such a negative and broad sweeping statement.

Google ‘vegetarian tibetan thukpa’ and try that, it may change your mind.

#12 Népal / Cuisine du monde | A l'aventure ... on 05.07.13 at 12:54 AM

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#13 Deanna on 11.03.13 at 3:44 PM

I can for believe margarita’s comment I had a great food experience in nepal and love nepali food.

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