What is worth eating in Nepal?
Nepalese cuisine with its aromas and flavours is a never-ending topic. Every enthusiast of spices that are typical of this region of Asia will be crazy about the possibility of trying goodies spiced with coriander, cumin, saffron, turmeric, cardamom, fenugreek, Indian caraway (ajwain) … and so on every day. The aromas can make you dizzy and your palate will go crazy with the flavours!
We will try to give you a brief summary.
Dal bhat – a traditional meal served throughout Nepal. Dal bhat is a national dish like Polish bigos or Spanish paella. Every housewife will cook it differently, depending on which spices and vegetables she likes the most. All dal bhats share one thing in common – they usually consist of steamed rice without salt and cooked lentil soup served in a separate bowl or poured directly onto the rice.
Apart from rice and lentil soup dal bhat is served with various kinds of curry, that is, vegetable, meat or cheese stew or fish in sauce. This is a specific method of preparation where vegetables, meat or hard cheese are fried in hot oil with garlic, chilli, onions or a selection of other spices and then stewed with tomatoes, adding some water, lime and other favourite spices…. Curry is served in small amounts as a side dish to rice and lentil. Sometimes only one type of curry is served, and sometimes there more than one. Chutney is also a good side dish. My favourite one contains tomatoes grilled without fat with plenty of fresh coriander, chilli and Nepalese pepper (timur). You can mix dal bhat in any proportions – as you like it – and remember to eat it with your hand. But it must be your right hand only. More and more Nepalese eat dal bhat using forks and spoons, but believe me – it tastes the best when eaten with your hand!
This dish can be served with dhindo instead of rice. Dhindo is a kind of porridge made from cornmeal, millet or buckwheat.
Momo dumplings – small bun-shaped dumplings stuffed with various fillings – vegetables or meat – customarily steamed but also fried in deep oil. This is a delicacy you can buy in the streets of every city in Nepal but also in diners located in rural areas. Served with hot chilli sauce they are a good way of dealing with a sudden burst of hunger.
Samosa – a triangular dumpling with vegetable stuffing, fried in deep oil, and served with a hot curry. It is also very nice.
You can have every curry with chapatis, that is, unleavened flatbread usually made from wheat flour. It is similar to Polish podpłomyki.
As for street food, grilled sausages and shish kebabs are very popular. Beef is still rarely served, but it depends on the ethnic group. Nepal’s favourite meat is goat meat. Served Nepalese style it is most delicious. But of course this is a matter of individual taste.
You can find tea shops practically everywhere in Nepal. Sometimes your tea will be ready instantly and sometimes the staff may need more time to prepare it, but if you drink tea without sugar make sure to inform them in advance! The Nepalese love very sweet tea.
That’s it for today. More presentations of Nepalese cuisine to follow soon.