Traditional Foods in Nepal
Dhido is the most popular food in rural areas. Dhido is made up of corn flour or millet flour. It is made by cooking flour in boiled water with continues stirring. It is a type of simple flour pudding.
Jand (जाँड) -
It is the traditional alcoholic beverage of Nepal. Jandh is a fermentation product of finger millet (Eleusine coracana) locally known as Kodo or Marua. The finger millet seeds are sometimes mixed with a small amount of wheat or corn grains.
Kinema is a nonsalted and solid-state fermented soybean food of the eastern hills of Nepal. It is consumed in Darjeeling and Sikkim of India and in some parts of Bhutan. It has a pungent smell of ammonia, slimy texture, and short shelf-life.
Chiura (चिउरा) – Beaten Rice
A popular traditional food of Nepal made from paddy. It’s made by soaking, draining, roasting, flaking the paddy followed by removing of the husk. It is one of the item mainly consume in special occasion typically in ASAR-15 with Dahi (fermented milk product).
Golfuki (गोल्फुकी) – Puffed Rice
Is the food products maily consumed as breakfast in terai community in Nepal. Golfuki preparation includes soaking of paddy (2-3 days), draining the water,and lightly roasting in Handi . its also famous as other name “”muri”” or “”bhuja”‘.
It is the popular breakfast in hilly areas of Nepal, It is made from rice mainly from brown rice obtained from dhiki ( a special Nepalese manual flaking instrument) but white or polished rice can also be used.it is prepared from rice by soaking overnight, draining and roasting.
It is rice based solid fermented food product characterized by creamy color, soft, and juicy sweet and sour taste with slightly alcoholic and aromatic flavor. Consumption of these products is deeply rooted in the culture and has several symbolic significance. During the preparation of Jandh and Raksi, this is base product. There is traditional belief that Poko promotes good health, nourishes the body giving good vigor and stamina (Gajurel and Baidya 1979, c). Their production is confined to home scale only.
Satoo is a traditional food product made from maize, soybean and sometime added gram. It is nutritionally considered as balanced food. Roasted maize (Makai) and soybean (Bhatmas) were mixed and powdered is called Satoo, which is generally consumed with Mahi and salt.
Khir (Rice Pudding) (खिर )
Khir (milk pudding) and Dhakane are the sweet breakfast and snack items prepared from rice and milk. Shrawan 15 (August 1) is a culturally special occasion for Consuming Khir. Khir preparation involves boiling the milk with a small amount of Rice for about 1 hr.
Kasar is a special traditional sweet of Nepal made from rice flour and chaku (concentration form of sugarcane juice) with ball shape of radius 4-6 cm.Basically it is served in wedding ceremony, Bratabandha and other cultural and activities.
Puwa (Nepali Puwa)
Puwa is the traditional sweet in slightly big granular shape made from Rice (khatte) .Puwa preparation involves the roasting of rice flour in Ghiu( ghee) until it becomes brown red. A little water is added, and it is boiled until cooked. A small amount of sugar and spices are added.it has also same importance as kasar.
Raksi (रक्सी) – Nepali Traditional Liquor
Raksi is major traditional alcoholic beverage of Nepalese community. Raksi is an unaged co generic spirit obtained by pot distillation of the slurry of Jand. The product resembles with whisky has highly varying alcohol contents.
Chiuri-Ghiu (चिउरी को घिउ )
Chiuri-Ghiu is a kind of vegetable ghee traditionally obtained from the fruit kernel of the Chiuri plant (botanical name Bassia butyracea) available in the mid hilly region of the kingdom and also known as butter-tree. The plant is generally available in the mountain region of the country at 1000 to 5000 ft altitude.
Yomari / Yamari Dumplings (योमरी)
Yomari is prepared by kneading rice flour using hot water, make fig shaped, make hole and put solidified Chaku mixed with powder of fried black sesame, close the hole making flower like shape and steamed until cooked. It should serve while hot. Beside Chaku, people use meat keema, black gram paste or Khoa. This is unique bread prepared by Newari people only, on Yomari punhi, day
B. Fruit and Vegetable based Traditional Products in Nepal
Gundruk is the lactic acid fermented product of green Leafy vegetables. The vegetable Leaf generally used includes rayo(Brassica compestris L var. cumifolia Roxb), Mustard leaf( Brassica nigra), Radish leaf(Raphanus sativusL) and cauliflower leaf(Brassica oleracea L var. botrytis). The predominated lactic acid bacteria that are important to acid development and contribution of flavour were suggested as Pediococus pentsaceous, Lactobacillus cellulobiose and L. plantarum. The acid content in the final product was generally ranges from 0.8% to 1% depending upon raw material used. It can be preserved for long time after sun drying and simple packaging under polyethylene bag or pouchs.it is popular among all the ethnic group of Nepal. it is also popular in some part of India ( Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland) having high dense Nepalese community.
Sinki is also the lactic acid fermented products of root parts of carrot. It has also sour test and can be preserved by sun drying and simple packaging like gundruk for long time.
Bamboo shoot ( Tama- तामा मेसु)
Tama (Mesu) is the salted lactic acid fermented bamboo shoot product consumed in bamboo growing region of Nepal. It is also consumed in the Nepalese originated people of Darjeeling and Sikkim part of India. The young shoot of bamboo is used in the preparation of Mesu. The commonly used bamboo are CHOYA BANS(Dendroclamus hamiltonii),KARATI BANS(Bambus tulda Roxb),BHALU BANS(Dendrucalamus Sikkimenens),DHUNGRE BANS(Dendroclamus Gigantea)and MAL BANS(Bambusa nutans)It is coomonly consumed as a Curry or making pickes (ACHAR).Th microflora found in the TAMa are Pediococus pentaceus( initiation) and dominated by , lactobacillus brevis and Lactobacillus plantarum. The curry Called AALU-TAMA-BODI( made by potato, MESU and white beans) is one of the popular item in NEWARI communityof Nepal.The final acidity in TAMA ranges from 0.o4 to 0.95% as lactic acid.
Khalpi is one of the famous traditional fermented pickle of Nepal made from KAKRO( Cucumber).The mature KAKRO is washed , cutting into strips 2-3 inch length, sun drying, mixing with salt and spices and methi( fenugreek) fried oil, packed tightly into glass container , lidding and fermented naturally for 4-5 days. Some diiference in preparation is commonly found depending on region. It is also consumed as ACHAR.
Chook-Amilo (चुक अमिलो)
Chook-Amilo is the concentrated form of sour citrus juice. It is generally prepared in hilly regions due to the availability of citrus fruits known as Jyamir, Kagati, or Nibuwa (lemon and lime varieties). Ripe sour citrus fruits are collected and juice is extracted with the help of a Kol, ( a pressing device traditionally used in rural areas to extract fruit juice, sugarcane juice, mustard oil, and Chiuri-Ghiu), boiled with occasional stirring until the color of the juice changes from white to grey and then black. The concentrated juice is stored in a mud container with tight lid. The Chook-Amilo can be stored and used for 1 to 2 years.
Mahuwa Raksi (महुवा रक्सी)
It is the distilled alcoholic fermented liquor of juice from a flower called Mahuwa ( maduca indica).The alcohol production is carried out by adding Khameer (yeast)or by means of natural yeast presence in the flower and distillation is carried out by traditional pot to concentrate the alcohol volume.
Toddy (Taddy) is the naturally fermented alcoholic product of sap from a palm treese.Sap from different palm varieties can be use in making toddy but in Nepal especially wild date (phoenix syslvestris) and Palmyra (Borassus flabelliefert) and dwarf date palm (phoenix humilis) are used.The collected sap generally contains 10-15% sugar and is converted to alcohol by means of yeast present in pot( mud pot/HADI/ GHAILA)as a culture from former Toddy. It contains mainly Saccharomyces as well as some other species of yeast like kloecdes, Pichia, Candida, and endomycopsis.
Aamchoor (dry mango flesh) ( आमचूर)
It is the dried product made from preripened mango flesh.Its production in Nepal is only limited to house hold level. It’s made from the preripening stage of mango and contained high organic acid. Mangoes are destining and longitudinally cut into small piece, mixed with salt and turmeric powder and dried in sun.. It can be stored in more than one year in tight glass container. Its mainly consumed as Achar ( pickle) with general dish of Nepalese( Dal, Bhat and Tarkari).It helps on digestion process of elderly people whose rate of decreasing PH in stomach is very slow during meal.
Dried Amala (Amala ko sukuti) ( अमलाको सुकुटी)
It is dried products of fruits Amala (Phyllanthus emblica, syn. Emblica officinalis) abundantly found in many part of the Nepal. It is a deciduous tree of the Euphobriaceae family well known for beneficial fruit for health. It contains ascorbic acid (Vit C) in high quantity. It can be used as Achar whereas the powder from dried Amala can be used in various ayurvedic medicines also.
Sulphating (0.5% KMS) can be done prior to drying to preserve its colour and ascorbic acid loss during preparation of dried Amala.
C. Regular Nepali food (Daily Food)
Dal Bhat Tarkari Achar or Roti / Chapati in Place of Bhat or Both
It is the regular food of Nepali people. Dal Bhat Roti Tarkari (Sabji) and achar is a set of food items. This set of food is eaten in lunch and diner both. Some people eat Roti in the lunch with dal and curry and some eat rice and some eat both. Bhat (Cooked Rice) and Roti is used for synonymous of lunch and dinner. People ask “did you eat Bhat / roti?”, that is they are asking “did you eat your food?”. Vegetarians eat rice or roti with curd, vegetables, sweets and non vegetarian prefer eating rice with goat or chicken meat. In rural places people eat maize and corn as their regular food too.
D. Other food Products
Durkha or Chhurpi is milk based food eaten in Nepal. Durkha is usually made in the mountain region of Nepal. Yak milk is usually preferred to make Dhurkha. Durkha have different types. Some durkha are soft, some hard but it is one of the favorite part of Nepali food. Durkha made in Illam is one of the famous types of durkha. .