Nepal is situated between two big countries, India and China. The Nepali food has influence from both the countries. Most of the spices and other ingredients used in Indian cuisine are also used in Nepalese cuisine. The Indian foods such as Pakoda, Samosa, Papadum, Paratha, Mithai (different sweets) and lot other are found in Nepal and also popular among Nepalese people. Nepalese food has variety according to the different cultures and geographical locations. The food eaten in different parts of Nepal, Himalayas (mountain part), Hilly parts and Terai (flat part) is different.
Dal (lentil soup), Bhat (rice), Tarkari (any curried vegetables) is the main every day food of Nepalese people. There can be Achaar (chutney) as well to give a hot spicy taste to the main food. Mainly Dal Bhat is eaten twice a day, in mornings and evenings. Nepali people eat Dal Bhat in the mornings before leaving from house for work or school because Dal Bhat is more filling and provides energy for the rest of the day. Tarkari can be any vegetable curry or a Masu (meat) curry. Generally Nepali people use chicken, mutton (goat meat in Nepal), pork to make “Masu ko Tarkari” (meat curry) at their houses. “Ranga ko masu” (Buffalos meat) is mainly used to make different dishes by some ethnic community in Nepal especially Newar’s. Not all the Nepalese eat Buffalo meat especially some Brahmin’s. Cow is holy in Nepal and Beef (cow meat) is never eaten by most of the population especially Hindus and Buddhists. Beef is never eaten by the Hindus.
In traditional way, Nepali people use their right hand to eat food but because of modernization, people also use spoon and fork to eat Dal Bhat. Generally Dal, Bhat, Tarkari, Achaar can be served in a same plate or different bowls can be used to serve Dal and Tarkari. Dal is poured on a portion of rice in a plate and some Tarkari and Achaar is mixed then the food is eaten which gives the taste of Dal, Bhat, Tarkari, Achaar together in a serving.
The spices used in Nepalese food are mainly cumin (jeera), coriander (dhaniya), turmeric (besar or haldi), red chili powder (khursani ko dhulo). Some other spices like black pepper (kalo marich), Jwano, Fenugreek (methi), Szechwan pepper (timur), bay leaves (tej patta), dried red chili, Garam Masala (mix of different spices) can also be used to enhance the flavor of food. Mustard oil, soya bean oil, sunflower oil or ghee is used in Nepali cooking recipes.
The ethnic groups of Nepal, Newar’s have a lot of variety in their food. The popular Newari food is called Samay Baji which has beaten rice (chewra), fried fish, black eyed peas (bodi), meat, ginger, boiled egg, potato curry etc. Choyla (grilled/roasted spicy meat specially made from Buffalo or Duck meat), Chatamari (rice flour bread with toppings of vegetable, egg or minced meat) and Bara (small size pancake made from lentil) are other popular Newari food.
Thakali is another ethnic community in Nepal and their typical Dal Bhat is famous. Roti or Chapati (flat bread made of wheat) is also used in Nepali diet whereas Puri (fried bread) can also be eaten with any vegetables and chutney. Dhido made of Maize (makai), buckwheat (fapar), barley (jau) or millet (kodo) is also popular in hilly region and eaten with curry and chutney instead of rice. Gundruk (dried and fermented green vegetable leaves) is used to make curry soup instead of Dal. Aloo Tama (potato and bamboo shoots curry) is also eaten during some occasions. Bhootan (stir fried meat), Sekuwa (grilled meat item) and Sukuti (spicy dried meat) are also eaten during occasions.
Nepali dessert may include yoghurt (dahi), rice pudding (khir) or Indian sweets also made in Nepal like laddoo, peda, barfi, lal mon, rasbari, jeri etc. Other popular food made during some festivals and occasions in Nepali houses is Sel Roti (sweet round snack made of rice flour).
Bhat is mainly plain rice boiled whereas Dal is cooked and some spices, onion, tomato, coriander is added by tempering which adds flavor to Dal. Tarkari (vegetable curry) can be made from different types of green spinach (Sag), cauliflower (cauli), chayote (iskush), cabbage (banda govi), pumpkin (pharsi), potato (aloo), tomato (golbheda), green bean (simi), radish (mula), egg plant (bhanta) etc. Paneer (dairy product) and Tofu (soya product) is also used to make vegetable curry. Different variety of Achaar (chutney) is made by using tomato, potato, radish, cucumber, coriander, green chili, mango, soya bean (bhatmas), sesame (til), gundruk and other vegetables.
Tea (chiya) is the popular beverage in Nepal and can be milk tea or black tea. Masala tea is made with adding any spices like cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, bay leaves, ginger etc or some other spices. There is ginger tea and lemon tea as well. Butter tea (Tibetan tea made with butter and salt) is also found which is used by Tibetan Buddhists. Buttermilk (mohi) is specially found in villages. Lassi (yoghurt drink) is popular as well. Alcoholic homemade Raksi , Chyang (milky white liquor made from fermented rice), Tongba (millet beer) are traditional alcoholic Nepali beverages.
Momo is the most popular food of Nepali people which is believed to be native from Tibet, China and was brought to Nepal. Momo is found everywhere in Nepal; the streets of Kathmandu, the restaurants, houses of Nepali people. Momo is also made in Nepali kitchen of different ethnic groups. Momo which is same like dumpling found in other Asian countries can be steamed, fried or boiled in a sauce. In Nepal we can get steam momo, fried momo, kothey momo, and C-momo.
Momo can be made in different shapes and sizes and found mainly in round and crescent shape in Nepal. Some people also make Sumai momo and Syabhalay. Momo made in Nepal has basically a filling of vegetables or minced meat inside. Vegetable Momo can have different vegetables mixed with spices whereas Non Vegan Momo can have filling of minced meat mixed with spices and vegetables. Mainly buffalo (buff) meat, Chicken, Mutton (goat meat in Nepal) or Pork is used. Momo is eaten with a red tomato chutney or sesame sauce whereas different other ingredients are also used in the chutney or sauce. Nepali people prefer the chutney to be spicy and may have red chili sauce as well. Momo should be served hot with the sauce and eaten warm.
In Nepal, among the Tibetan Buddhists and also among the Nepali people, foods like Thukpa (soup noodle) and Chowmein (stir fried noodle) is eaten for lunch or dinner.
Nepali Host Family provides Nepali cooking class for the foreigners. We run Nepali cooking classes for individuals or group. You can request which dish you would like to learn if you have any preference before taking the cookery lessons.
Learn how to make a Nepali food like Dal bhat (rice and lentil soup), Achaar (pickle), different types of Tarkari (Nepali curry), Momo, Chicken Sandeko, Choyla, Aloo dum, Aloo tama, Khir, Nepali dessert, Nepali masala tea etc and other foods like Paratha, Pakoda, Thukpa in our Nepali Cooking Class with class time of about 3 to 4 hours. You work together with us during the Nepali cookery class and also get to taste the food you have made after everything is done. You will get the Nepali cooking recipe as well.