Nepal's cuisine has been heavily influenced by climate as well as neighboring India. Typical meals include rice, lentils, pickles and curried vegetables.
The Kathmandu Valley is heaven for seasonal vegetables—immense cauliflowers, carrots, eggplants, beans, and cabbages in the winter; peppers, peas, tomatoes, spinach, and lettuce in the spring; squash, cucumbers, and many local vegetables without English names in the monsoon. Out in the hills the supply is limited to a few standards: potatoes, onion, cauliflower, giant radishes (mula), and various greens. The latter are often fermented and dried into a strong-tasting mess called gundruk, rich in vitamins, iron, and calcium.
Citrus fruits arrive in the winter: suntalaa and grapefruit like pomelo, plus mushy Indian apples. Spring brings luscious tropical fruits like mangoes (aap) with their sweet, sticky, bright orange flesh. The fruit of the milder-flavored papaya (mewa) is the color of orange sherbet; its black seeds are said to be a sovereign remedy for upset stomach. The addictive litchi appears in grape-like bunches in May-June: peel off the corrugated red skin to reveal the sweet white fruit, but beware of the large seeds. August-Sept. brings yellow-skinned guavas (ambaa), with their edible seeds and soft flesh, and more Vitamin C than oranges. The brown naspati appearing in the fall combines the flavor and color of a pear with the texture and shape of an apple. Bananas (keraa) are available year-round in at least seven varieties; unlike other fruit, sold by the kilo, these are sold by the dozen.
Also check out our India page for additional recipes.
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This page modified January 2007