the appetizer:

Nepal's cuisine has been heavily influenced by climate as well as neighboring India. Typical meals include rice, lentils, pickles and curried vegetables.

Destinations Nepal valley  


Rice and Grains

Grain, preferably rice, provides 90% of the calories in the national diet. Rice's fundamental role is underscored by the language: daal bhaat is khaanaa, "food," and a common greeting is "Bhaat khaayo?"—literally, "Have you eaten rice?"

Rice is a high-status dish and remains the favorite food in lower regions where it's plentiful. In the dry higher Hills it's often a luxury; where it is available it must be portered in and is consequently more expensive. Roasted flour (sattu or tsampa) is the staple food here, made from local grains: maize, wheat, millet, barley, buckwheat. The main food of most Hill families is dhiro, a cooked mush of maize or millet flour eaten alone, with fried vegetables, or with a thin soup. Grinding the family's daily flour supply on a hand-operated stone mill is one of a housewife's time-consuming tasks.

Among the highland Bhotia the staple is Tibetan tsampa, ground roasted barley flour, just as in Tibet. Eminently portable, it requires no cooking—just mix with tea and perhaps a little dried cheese and eat. In highland mountain regions like the Sherpa homeland of Khumbu, the staff of life is boiled potatoes, peeled and eaten with salt and a relish of pounded chilis and garlic. This is much better than it sounds, as high-altitude potatoes are marvellously tasty. Sherpa women often make rigi kur, delicious crispy potato pancakes served with a big lump of yak butter.


Nepali Recipes

Also check out our India page for additional recipes.

Back to the main Nepal page

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This page modified January 2007

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