The topography of Nepal has an impacting influence on the contrasting potpourri of cuisines it offers. The cooking in the steep terrain of the Himalayas is full of Tibetan influences in contrast to the dishes prepared in the plains that have traces of influence from India.
If you were to visit Nepal what you would notice is how every person loves the so commonly eaten Dal Bhaat. This is lentil soup served with rice. It is consistent amongst all communities and has a special place in Nepali food. Dal Bhaat is usually eaten with seasonal vegetables, relishes and the popular “Aloo ko Achar”.
Aloo ko Achar is a potato salad made everywhere in Nepal. It’s fresh and is eaten on the same day as it is prepared. The combination of sesame and fenugreek seeds with a drizzle of mustard oil makes it a bomb of flavours.
Bhaat is replaced by Dhido in the western and eastern parts of Nepal. Dhido is buckwheat prepared with water. Buckwheat could also be replaced with millets or maize. Dhido is eaten with Gundruk which is a stew made out of fermented leafy green roots of cauliflower and radish.
Nepalese relishes are unique and so different from the other. The avocado relish is a fine mashed avocado paste seasoned with sugar and served as an accompaniment. The tomato relish gets its flavour from its tempering with schzeuan pepper and the radish relish is prepared using fenugreek seeds.
Once you visit Nepal, you must look out for the wide spread of meat delicacies eaten. There are certain communities which only stick to mutton and chicken while some only eat pork and buff. Nepal has a variety of meat dishes catering to all types of communities.
Pakku is a favourite. If huge pieces of slow cooked mutton packed with flavour does not excite you then I don’t know what would! Pakku is mutton which is cooked especially doing Dasai. It is known as Kawaf in Kathmandu. Its preparation requires a lot of muscle as the meat has to be thoroughly massaged and marinated for a considerable period of time.
Sekuwa chura is one such common snack eaten in the evenings. If you stroll around Kathmandu you would be surprised with the number of eateries serving Sekuwa Chura. Sekuwa could be pork, chicken and mutton barbecued using Nepali spices such as Sichuan pepper and chura is flattened rice. The burnt charcoal flavour of the meat is the essence of the dish.
If you are feeling adventurous, delicacies prepared using the offal of goat should be in your to do list. Offal being a Nepalese delicacy is in such demand during the time of Dasai. Jibro (tongue), Rakati (blood) , Aandra ( intestines), Phokso (lungs) and Kalejo (liver) are popular dishes prepared using Nepali spices. Offal is a favourite snack consumed while drinking.
For vegetarians Bhatmaas Sandheko is a snack eaten while drinking. Soybeans are called Bhatmaas in Nepali. The dish is prepared adding a mixture of spices such as garlic, red onions, ginger, coriander and chilies to the soybean seeds. What really adds to the taste is green garlic used in its preparation.
I don’t think I need to even talk about how much Nepalese love Momos. These steamed flour dumplings are prepared with fillings of chicken, buff, pork or mutton. The peanut sauce and tomato chutney served with it make the entire dish heavenly.
For all those having a sweet tooth, your visit to Nepal would be incomplete if you miss the famous Sel roti. Sel roti is a dessert prepared out of the paste of rice, sugar, soda powder and butter. It looks like a donut but is not as sweet as one. Sel roti is always associated with festivities and is prepared during weddings and pujas.
The simplicity and specialty of each dish makes Nepalese food distinct and unique. With over 125 ethnic groups, we have a wide range of dishes. The serenity of the mountains and the picturesque roads along with its rich culture and cuisine makes it a perfect holiday destination.