Nepal's cuisine has been heavily influenced by climate as well as neighboring India. Typical meals include rice, lentils, pickles and curried vegetables.
Yogurt is widely available, called "curd" on local menus and sold in disposable clay pots in local shops. Often it picks up a smoky taste from the wood fire it's cooked on; it's best consumed in the form of a lassi or yoghurt shake sold in tourist restaurants. Bhaktapur's thick, creamy juju dahu or "King of Curd" is supposed to be the best available.
Excess milk is hand-churned into butter. Mahi, the resulting buttermilk byproduct, is eaten with dhiro and said to be good for digestion. Highland herders sew the butter into skins and keep it until it's bordering on rancid; mountain people use it to flavor their Tibetan-style salt tea, a substantial soupy broth which is a staple of mountain life. Farmers in lower regions boil it until the moisture vaporizes to make clarified butter or ghee (Nepalis call it ghiu), which they sell in Terai towns and India.
Chhurpi is dried cheese made from the solids of mahi or yoghurt, dried in the sun, then cut into squares and strung on cords of yak hair, rather like an edible necklace. Rock-hard at first, chhurpi slowly softens when boiled in soup or stew. People gnaw on chunks of it all day long as a sort of tasteless Himalayan chewing gum.
Also check out our India page for additional recipes.
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This page modified January 2007