Cookbook:Cuisine of Nepal

Cookbook | Ingredients | Cuisines | South Asian cuisines

Nepali cuisine is variable, influenced by Tibetan cuisine in the north of the country and northern Indian cuisine in the south. dal-bhat-tarkari (Nepali: दाल भात तरकारी ) is eaten throughout the country. Dal is a soup made of lentils and spices. It is served over boiled grain, bhat -- usually rice but sometimes another grain—with vegetable curry, tarkari. Typical condiments are a small amount of extremely spicy chutney (चटनी) or achaar (अचार). These can be made from fresh ingredients, or may be a kind of fermented pickle. The variety of these preparations is staggering, said to number in the thousands.[1] Other accompaniments may be sliced lemon (kagati) or lime (nibua) and fresh chili peppers, khursani, cucumber slices, radish and onion slices. Some foods are hybrid of Chinese/Tibetian and Indian foods, like momo, Tibetian dumplings with Indian spices, found generally in Newa cuisine, originally filled with buffalo meat, but now also with goat, chicken meat as well as different vegetables and cottage cheese. There are also foods eaten during festivals like Sel roti, Patre, etc., eaten generally in tihar. New food varieties have also been made like Taas, (made first by a restaurant (Bhet Ghat) owner from Narayanghat Chitwan) which have gained wide popularity around the country, eaten generally with muri/bhuja (puffed rice), it is like Sekuwa (barbecued goat meat).

Hill Bahun (Brahmins), Chhetris Have traditionally eaten Goat meat (Khasi) and fish. However with land suitable for irrigated rice paddies in short supply, other grains supplement or even dominate. Wheat becomes unleavened flat wheat bread (roti or chapati). Maize (makai), buckwheat (fapar), barley (jau) or millet (kodo) become porridge-like (dhido or ato). Tarkari can be spinach or greens (sag), fermented and dried greens (gundruk or sinki), daikon radish (mula), potatoes (alu), green beans (simi), tomatoes (golbeda), cauliflower (kauli), cabbage (bandakopi)), pumpkin (pharsi), etc. Fruit traditionally grown in the hills include mandarin orange (suntala), kaffir lime (kaguti), lemon (nibuwa), Asian pear (nashpati), and bayberry (kaphal). Yogurt (dahi) and curried meat (masu) or fish (machha) are served as side dishes when available. Chicken (Kukhura), and fish are usually acceptable to all but the highest Brahmin (Bahun) caste, who limit meat to Goat (Khasi). Observant Hindus never eat beef (gaiko masu), except untouchables (dalit) possibly eating animals that have died of natural causes. In Pahari communities, domestic pork (sungurko masu) was traditionally only eaten by Magars, Kirats and Dalits, However bangur ko masu wild boar was traditionally hunted and eaten by Chhetris. A strain derived from wild boar is now raised in captivity and used for meat that is increasingly popular with Pahari ethnicities and castes that did not traditionally eat pork.

The central Nepal, including the Kathmandu Valley, specially newar community,is reach in variety of dishes. The newari cuisines includes the buff meat as main ingredient in non-veg cooking which is used to prepare various traditional "newari" dishes like "chhoyala", "kachila", "kawaf", "janla", "takha", "nya-khunha", "takula","chikula", "la wo lapi", "khago", "syapumhicha", "tisya", "nhepu", "chohi", "soo" etc. The veg items include "woo","chatamari", (can be varied as minced meat stuffed, simple, with egg, and with vegetable), "Yomari" , "Paun kwa", "pancha kwa" , "mee kwa","hyela", and others with various vegetables and beans. The widely used "achar" includes the mixed salad like pickle made up of mixing potatoes,sesame seeds, cucumber and other seasonal raw vegetables. The other famous "achar" are made of tomatoes and dried fish for non-veg. For vegetarians, dried fish can be replaced by fried tofu or cottage cheese. "Lapsi" is another ingredient that is used for "achar", which can be mixed with seasonal vegetables and fruits or it can alone make it. For soft drink, a rice-beer known as "tho" is used. For hard drink, it is "aela".

Terai cuisine - Food in Outer Terai grades into cuisines of adjacent parts of India such as Maithili[4] cuisine in the east, Bihari and Bhojpuri cuisine in the center and near west. Further west there is Uttar Pradeshi and even Mughlai-influenced Awadhi cuisine—particularly eaten by the substantial Muslim population around Nepalganj and beyond. Terai diets can be more varied than in the Middle Hills because of greater variety of crops grown locally plus cash crops imported from cooler microclimates in nearby hill regions as well as from different parts of India. Fruit commonly grown in the Terai include mango (aap), litchi, papaya (mewa/papeeta), banana (kera/kela) and jackfruit (katahar/katahal).

Nepali cuisine uses spices such as cumin, fenugreek, and coriander; and rice and lentils are eaten as staples. This southern-influenced brand of Nepali cuisine is different from Indian cuisine mainly in the much more moderate usage of oil and spices.

Influences from the north include bamboo-shoots, preserved vegetables (various pickled/fermented vegetables), and dried vegetables (gundruk and sinki), which are regularly and commonly eaten. Also popular are steamed dumplings (momos), usually eaten with a sauce made, variably, of tomatoes, cilantro, and sesame seeds.