Cuisine of Nepal

International Cuisine, Nepal


Andrew’s Essential Fiery Food Facts that a pyro-gourmaniac needs to Know

Part 7

Fiery Cuisines Part 3 Nepal

Although I have never been to Nepal, my mate Warren’s tales have my tastebuds exploding wanting to know and taste more. I am very privileged to call Shanka the Chef / Owner of Katmandu Kitchen at Kingscliff, a very close friend, and have eaten literally hundreds of his spicy dishes.


Nepal’s food is as diverse as the country itself. Nepali Cuisine combines a range of ingredients, techniques and characteristics from its neighbouring countries with its own gastronomic history.

Set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, the people of Nepal have many different backgrounds and ethnicities, and this multitude of influences is reflected within the country’s cuisine. Nepali dishes are generally healthier than most other South Asian cuisine, relying less on using fats and more on chunky vegetables, lean meats, pickled ingredients and salads. Whilst Nepal does take heavy influences from its closest geographical companions such as India, China and Tibet, this mountainous country only opened up its borders to outsiders in the 1950s. This factor, in addition to transport and trade difficulties Nepal’s geographical setting, has maintained a focus on using locally grown produce.

Many Nepalis do not feel that they have eaten a real meal unless it has included a sizable helping of rice. Most residents eat a large rice meal twice a day, usually at midmorning and in the early evening. Nepali food, which is simple and subtle in flavour, is prepared by using unique blend of common ingredients and spices. Nepalese food is famous for its nutritional value and exquisite taste. In preparation of food, Nepalese people make extensive use of spices such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, pepper, timmur (a unique Himalayan pepper), cumin, chillies, and mustard.

The interesting mixtures of spices and their methods of preparation is unique to Nepal, handed down through generations.

Until the latter half of the 20th century there was very little culinary influence from abroad. Since then however, there has been a continuous influx of peoples, bringing with them new recipes, traditions, and culinary preparations.

Perhaps one of the more conspicuous groups of visitors were the American draft dodgers and hippies who brought their culture and culinary traditions which are still prominent in areas of Kathmandu like Thamel.

Today in the Kathmandu valley there is a considerable degree of culinary diversity, unlike much of rural Nepal which is still quite inaccessible, and getting there may require a couple of days trek from the nearest pliable road. To a great extent the rural Nepalese have maintained their unique cooking traditions and recipes, because of their isolation.

For a Nepali expatriate returning to his or her village from abroad, there is nothing like a simple home prepared meal of Nepali daal-bhaat (rice and dahl) cooked in a taulo (Nepali wok) over a wood stoked chulha, and washed down with a kahadi (steel glass) of spice laden Nepali chia.

Many spices used in Nepal are either unique to Nepal or known and used differently from their counterparts in other spice growing regions. There are probably a dozen or more unique variations of spices and unique preparations of spices available in Nepal.  In addition, most dishes are flavoured with mustard oil, clarified butter (ghee), and sometimes Yak butter. Because of harsh conditions prevailing in the highlands of the Himalayas, foods are preserved by dehydrating or fermenting staple ingredients during their growing season. Delicacies such as Sukuti (dehydrated meat) and Gundruk (fermented vegetables). A typical full-course Nepali meal would include an appetizer, a vegetable or lentil soup, two or more vegetable and meat dishes, and an achar or chutney, served with  a roti (flat wheat bread), steamed rice or rice pilaf, supplemented with a local beverage, such as yogurt drink (lassi), beer or liquor, and followed by a dessert and tea.

Typical Himalayan dishes include Dahls (lentils curries), Tarkaris (curried vegetables or meat stews), Bhutuwas (stir-fried meats or vegetable dishes), Sekuwas (grilled meats or vegetables), Choylas (grilled meats marinated in seasoned mustard oil), rotis (traditional flat breads), MOMO’s (my mate Warrrens favourite thing, stuffed vegetable dumplings), Thukpas and Chow-Chows (Himalayan stir-fried noodles, Warren reckon these kick serious butt), Sukutis (smoked barbeques), Quantees (meat or vegetable stews with sprouted beans), Achars (chutney , preserved condiments), Chiya (spiced or regular tea), and many others. Many Nepali dishes are derived from the great culinary tradition of the indigenous Newari culture, native to the Kathmandu Valley.

Nepals very own Chilli, the Akhbare Khursani (commonly known as round chilli) is one of the hottest spices in the world.

It is grown and widely used in Nepal as flavouring for the preparation of dahl and curries.

It is particularly popular for use during the cold winter months.

Akhbare Khursani is not a commercial crop in Nepal; instead it is generally grown in small quantities in home gardens.


Recipe Time…… Happy cooking…..Namaste….


Vegetable Curry Masala



2 tbls Cumin seeds

2 tbls Coriander seeds-

1 tbls Brown mustard seeds

1 tbls Daikon Radish seed

1 tsp Fenugreek seeds

1 tbls Dehydrated garlic

1 tbls Dried ginger-

10 Dried red chilies

1 tsp Szechwan pepper (timmur)

1 tbls Black peppercorn (marich)

1 tbls Turmeric

1/4 tsp Asafetida



Heat a Pan,

When the pan is hot , dry roast cumin, coriander, mustard, fenugreek seeds, timmur and black peppercorn until seeds start to pop and change colour

Tip onto a clean plate

Let it cool

With a mortar and pestle, or an electric spice grinder, grind all roasted and other remaining spices into a fine powder

Store in an air-tight container


Momo Cha ko achar (Dumpling sauce)



2 lge (400gm) Tomatoes

3 tbls Sesame seed (teel)

6 Red Chilies dried

60 gm Garlic

Coriander lears pulled apart, not chopped

Himalayan Pink Salt




Heat the sesame seed in a pan for about 1 minute

Wash the two tomatoes in a bowl , dry and heat in a Microwave for 2 minutes

Heat the red chilies in a pan on the stove for few minutes.

Grind the sesame seed in the grinder add red chilies, garlic salt,

coriander and the tomato together and grind it again to get a

good paste




Si Momo sauce (My Favourite HOT and SPICY)



400gm Tomatoes

3 tbls Sesame seed (teel)

1 (180gm ) red Capsicum

10 Green Chillies ( I used green Serranos)

60 gm Garlic

1 tbls Ground Coriander

2 Red Habaneros chopped

20gm Plain Flour

100gm Diced, Carrot, Celery and Spanish onion

Sea Salt to taste




Heat sesame seeds in pan for about 1 minute

Wash and cut two tomatoes in half

Cut the green chillies in halves

Add red capsicum, garlic and salt

Heat 1 tbls of oil in a pan

Add chopped garlic and fry it until golden brown

Add cut vegetables saute

Add red chilies, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt

Add 2 cup of water and let the sauce get boiled

Serve with MOMOs


Hot Green Chili Pepper Achar



500gm Green chili

1tbls Sea Salt

1 tbls Fresh Garlic

1 tbls Fresh ginger

1 tbls Mustard Oil

1 tsp GroundTurmeric

1 tsp Radish seed powder (I get this from the local Indian Grocers Chilli Spice)




Wash and cut the chillies into 3 pieces each

Put the pieces of chillies in a big bowl

Add all the spices on it and mix it well

Fill the mixture in the jar close jar

Keep the jar in a sunny spot for about 2 or 3 days



Paneer Chilli



350 gm Paneer-

2 tbls Sea Salt

300gm Tomato diced 1cm

½ cup Maize Flour

1 tbls Fresh Ginger chopped

1 tbls crushed Garlic

380 gm Brown Onions finely chopped

2 Green Chillies sliced

2 Green capsicums

1 tbls Soya Sauce

2 tbls Vinegar

100 ml Tomato Sauce

100ml Water



Cut the paneer into cubes.

Heat the oil in a pan

Add paneer pieces in the oil.

When the Paneer turns golden brown take it off the heat.

In the same pan, heat 2 table spoon of the oil and stir fry the onions, capsicums and tomato over high heat  1 minute

Add the green chillies, Sea salt, soya sauce, vinegar, tomato sauce and the fried paneer cubes.

Mix well, and garnish the chilli paneer with finely cut spring onions and coriander leaves.


Nepali Chicken chilli


380 gm chicken breast, boneless

120 gm Spanish Onion

120 gm Red capsicum

4 Green chillies

360gm tomatoes

1 tbls Habanero powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tbls Ground turmeric

1 tbls cumin seed

3 tbls Tomato sauce

2 tbls plain flour

1 tbls ground ginger

1 tbls Chopped garlic

3 green shallot chopped

1 bunch coriander chopped

2 cloves of fresh garlic crushed

1 inch of fresh ginger crushed

1 egg

Sea salt



Cut the onion into quarters. Cut capsicum and tomatoes around 1 ½ cm square

Cut the chicken breast around 1 ½ cm square

Split Green chilli into 2 pieces length wise,

Put chicken breast in a g bowl ,mix well with cumin, Habanero Powder, turmeric powder, salt , ginger and garlic

Add plain flour and egg together and mix . Make sure to coat all the chicken pieces well

Pan Fry the marinated chicken cubes in the oil.

In a wok heat 2 tbls of oil and add sliced green chilli, cumin seed, crushed ginger and  garlic and fry for about a minute.

Add tomato sauce in the wok , cook 5 mins

Add fried chicken and mix it well with the sauce. Add Spanish onion, tomatoes and capsicum.

Give it a quick toss Make sure the onion remains crisp.

Add green shallot and coriander and give it a quick toss and take it off the heat.

Serve it with rice.


Veg Momos Andrew Stylee


For Dough:

1 cup plain flour

2 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

Water as needed

For Stuffing:

1/2 cup finely shredded cabbage

14 cup finely shredded carrot

1/2 Brown onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped green beans

¼ tsp Fresh Ginger chopped

¼ tsp Fresh garlic chopped

1 green chilli finely chopped

1 tsp Soy sauce

1/2 tsp Gnd Blackpepper

Salt to taste

1 tbsp oil



For preparing Dough:

In a medium bowl combine flour,salt,oil and add enough water and knead well.

Make a soft dough. Keep aside.

To prepare stuffing:

heat oil in a pan, add and garlic. Fry till they are brown in colour.

Then add onions and green chillies and saute till onions are translucent.

Add all the vegies and salt.

Cover and cook until the vegies are soft and water evaporated.

Now add soya sauce and mix well.

Lastly add pepper and let the mixture cool.

Now, to make momos, take dough similar to size of tennis balls and make a round circle about 10cm diameter with rolling pin.

Put 1tbsp of the filling on the rolled dough.

Apply water at the ends and gather the edges into the centre and seal of the edges. This will make dumpling style momos. If you want to make half moon , put stuffing on one side and fold into half.

To fry Momos:

Fry on a high flame for 1 minute and reduce the flame and fry till the momos are golden brown in colour.

To steam Momos:

Apply oil to the steamer basket and arrange momos in a single layer and steam it for 10-12 minutes.

Momos can be served with chilli sauce. You can use sauce to dip momos or coat momos with chilli sauce and make chilli momos.