Sunday, May 20, 2012

Not Tandoori Chicken

During my travels abroad I usually get taken to Nepali restaurants by my well meaning hosts which invariably means either momos which I hate; or having some tandoori fare which is not Nepali but north Indian or Pakistani. Invariably I get asked what is the difference?

Nepali food is always less spicy than north Indian food. We tend to let the taste of that particular food come out rather than overpower it with spices and condiments. For example we totally avoid using onions and garlic in our dals. Then, like the Chinese and Japanese we love bamboo shoots and eat a lot of them. I have never encountered bamboo shoots anywhere in India though I am sure they are part of the cuisine in areas bordering Burma.

Like the Japanese we love buckwheat or soba as the Japanese call it. There is a huge domestic demand for buckwheat from Mustang area. Again I haven't seen a liking for coarse grains in Indian cuisine unlike in Nepal.

Then we have special high mountain herbs like Jimbu
(botanical name Allium hypsistum) which is unique to and essential for the preparation of Nepali food.

I suppose finally it is also the preparation that makes it different. All small things making a big difference.

In this image taken recently I have tried to present a small selection of vegetarian Nepali food.

Chamsur (cress) and Palungo (spinach) ko saag
Moola (radish) ko aachar (slightly fermented radish pickle)
Aaloo (potato) ko achar (potato pickle. It is always freshly made)
Toosa (freshly harvested bamboo shoots)
Kauli (cauliflower) ko tarkari (cauliflower in dry curry style)
Meethi (fenugreek) ko kheer (sweet dish made from fenugreek)
Sikarni (reduced yoghurt with saffron and nuts)
Dal (yellow dal with no tomatoes, garlic or onions but with a special high mountain Nepali herb Jimbu )
Kalo  dal (Black Dal in Thakali style with multiple varieties of beans and again with Jimbu herb)
Aloo Tama (Fermented Bamboo shoots curry with potatoes and beans)

BottomWhite rice
Keshar rice

No comments:

Post a Comment