Nepali cuisine is a diverse and flavorful combination of Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese influences, with a unique twist of its own. Here are some of the key features and tastes of Nepali cuisine.
Momos are a popular Nepali snack that has become well-known and beloved throughout South Asia and beyond. They are small, dumpling-like parcels filled with a mixture of minced meat (usually chicken, beef, or pork), vegetables (such as cabbage, onions, and carrots), or cheese (often paneer). The filling is seasoned with a blend of spices and herbs, which can vary depending on the region and the cook.
The momo dough is typically made from wheat flour and water, and is rolled out into thin circles. The filling is then placed in the center of the circle, and the dough is folded over and pinched closed to form a pleated pouch. The momos are then steamed or fried until cooked through and served with a spicy dipping sauce made from chili peppers, tomato, garlic, and other seasonings.
Momos are often eaten as a snack or appetizer, but they can also be served as a main course, especially when accompanied by a bowl of hot soup or a plate of rice. They are a delicious and satisfying treat that has become a favorite food in many parts of the world.
Wo or Bara
Wo or Bara is a popular Nepali dish made from black lentils, spices, and sometimes minced meat. It is a type of pancake or fritter that is crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Wo or Bara is typically served with a variety of condiments, such as chutneys, pickles, and yogurt, and can be eaten as a snack or as part of a main meal.
To make Wo or Bara, black lentils are soaked overnight and then ground into a smooth batter with the addition of spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Sometimes, minced meat (such as buffalo, chicken, or mutton) is also added to the batter for extra flavor and protein.
Wo or Bara is a popular street food in Nepal, and can be found in small shops and vendors all over the country. It is also commonly served during festivals and special occasions, and is a favorite food among Nepali people.
Dhindho or Dhido
Dhindho or Dhido is a traditional Nepali food that is popular among the people of the Himalayan region, particularly in the hilly and mountainous areas of Nepal. It is a porridge-like dish that is made from buckwheat, millet, or corn flour mixed with water and cooked until it forms a thick and smooth consistency.
To prepare Dhundho, the flour is first roasted in a pan until it turns brown, then mixed with water and stirred continuously over low heat until it thickens. The mixture is then transferred to a plate or a bowl, and eaten with a vegetable or meat curry. Dhandho is typically eaten with a spoon, and is a hearty and nutritious meal that provides energy for the cold and rugged terrain of the mountains. It is also a popular dish during festivals and special occasions in the Nepali culture.
Gundruk is a traditional fermented leafy vegetable dish that is popular in Nepal and some other South Asian countries like Bhutan and parts of India. It is made by fermenting leafy green vegetables like mustard greens, radish leaves, cauliflower leaves, or spinach, which have been chopped and left to dry in the sun for several days until they turn dark and crispy. The dried leaves are then stored in airtight containers or bags and left to ferment for a few days.
During the fermentation process, the leaves are packed tightly in the container or bag and left to sit for a few days, during which the natural bacteria present in the leaves start to break down the carbohydrates and proteins, producing lactic acid and other organic acids. This gives Gundruk its distinct tangy and sour taste, as well as its characteristic aroma.
Gundruk is a popular ingredient in Nepali cuisine, and is used in a variety of dishes like soups, stews, and curries. It is also eaten as a side dish, and is believed to have many health benefits due to its high nutritional value, including vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.
Gorkhali Lamb is a popular Nepali dish that features tender pieces of lamb cooked in a spicy tomato-based sauce with a unique blend of aromatic herbs and spices. The dish gets its name from the Gorkha district of Nepal, which is famous for its rich culinary heritage.
To prepare Gorkhali Lamb, the lamb is marinated in a mixture of yogurt, ginger, garlic, and a variety of spices, which helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. The marinated lamb is then browned in a pan before being added to a thick tomato-based sauce, which has been flavored with a blend of aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. The dish is finished with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and served with steamed rice or flatbreads.
Gorkhali Lamb is a delicious and hearty dish that is popular among meat lovers in Nepal and other parts of South Asia. It is known for its rich, bold flavors and tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture, and is often served at special occasions and festive gatherings.
Juju Dhau is a famous Nepali dessert that is also known as “king of yogurt” due to its rich and creamy texture. It is a sweet and velvety yogurt that is made by traditional Newari artisans in the Bhaktapur district of Nepal using a unique fermentation process.
To make Juju Dhau, fresh buffalo milk is boiled and then cooled down to room temperature. A small amount of yogurt culture is added to the milk and then left to ferment for several hours in clay pots, which are made from local clay found in the Bhaktapur district. The clay pots are then sealed with a mixture of cow dung and clay to maintain a consistent temperature during the fermentation process, which takes about 8-10 hours.
Sel Roti is a popular Nepali snack that is made from rice flour and is similar to a sweet, crispy doughnut. It is a circular, ring-shaped bread that is deep-fried in oil until golden brown and crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside.
To make Sel Roti, a batter is prepared by mixing rice flour, sugar, cardamom powder, and water to form a smooth and thick consistency. The batter is then left to ferment for several hours or overnight, which gives the Sel Roti its unique flavor and texture. Once the batter is ready, it is poured into a circular mold or piping bag and squeezed out into the shape of a ring, which is then deep-fried in hot oil until golden brown.
Sel Roti is a popular snack in Nepal and is often eaten during festivals and special occasions such as Tihar (a Hindu festival of lights), weddings, and other celebrations. It is typically served with a side of yogurt or a spicy chutney for dipping, and is enjoyed by people of all ages.
Yomari is a traditional Nepali dessert that consists of a steamed dumpling made from rice flour dough, which is filled with a mixture of chaku (molasses) and grated coconut or sesame seeds. The dumpling is usually shaped like a fish or a crescent moon, and is often served with a sweet syrup made from chaku. Yomari is a popular dish during the Newari festival of Yomari Punhi, which is celebrated in the Kathmandu Valley during the full moon day of December. The festival is dedicated to the worship of Annapurna, the goddess of food, and is also known as the Yomari Festival.
Chatamari is a traditional Nepali dish that is similar to a savory crepe or pancake. It is a popular snack or appetizer in the Newari community of Nepal, and is often served during festivals or special occasions.
To make Chatamari, a thin batter made from rice flour and water is poured onto a hot, oiled griddle or pan. The batter is spread out into a thin, round shape and then topped with a mixture of ground meat, onions, tomatoes, and spices like cumin and coriander. The dish is then cooked until the bottom is golden brown and the topping is cooked through.
Thukpa is a popular Tibetan noodle soup that is also commonly found in Nepal, Bhutan, and parts of northern India. It is a hearty and warming dish that is particularly popular in the colder mountainous regions of these countries.
Thukpa typically consists of boiled or hand-pulled wheat or rice noodles that are served in a flavorful broth made with vegetables, meat or chicken, and a variety of spices and herbs. The broth is often prepared with garlic, ginger, onions, and tomatoes, and may be spiced with cumin, coriander, and chili flakes. Vegetables like carrots, cabbage, and spinach are also commonly added to the soup, along with pieces of cooked meat or chicken.
Thukpa is often served with a side of spicy chutney or a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and may be garnished with chopped cilantro or scallions. It is a popular comfort food that is particularly comforting on cold winter days or at high altitudes, where the air can be thin and chilly.
Choila is a traditional Nepali dish that is commonly found in the Newari community of Nepal. It is a spicy and flavorful dish made with grilled or roasted meat, typically buffalo or chicken, that is marinated in a mixture of spices, chili peppers, and other aromatic ingredients.
To make Choila, the meat is first grilled or roasted over an open flame until it is cooked through and has a slightly charred exterior. It is then chopped into small pieces and mixed with a marinade made from a combination of mustard oil, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder. The mixture is then left to marinate for several hours to allow the flavors to meld together.
The result is a tender and flavorful meat dish that is spicy, savory, and aromatic. Choila is often served as an appetizer or a side dish, and is typically accompanied by a side of rice or flatbreads. It is a popular dish during festivals and celebrations in Nepal, and is a great way to experience the bold flavors and spices of Nepali cuisine.