Neighbouring Tibet, China and India have all influenced the style of regional cuisine offered in Nepal, where potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, chilies, peppers, and strong flavours reign supreme. Rice forms the base of many dishes, with pulao (fried rice) available country-wide. Dal Bhat is a medley of rice or rice-substitutes, lentils, and side dishes such as pickles and chutney. If you like dumplings, Nepal’s momo are the closest match, with a meat or vegetable filling, and accompanied with dips. Curries such as Gorkhali lamb, goat, fish head, pork, and potato, pea and tomato curry prove to be among some of the most popular choices. Other savory traditional dishes include: aalu tama (a blend of bamboo shoots and potatoes), chatamari (the Nepalese take on pizza), and gundruk dhido (fermented vegetables with corn porridge). Given that the cow is deemed sacred by those of faith, eating beef is prohibited.
Like main dishes, many Nepalese desserts make use of rice as the base ingredient and milk-based recipes are also common. Cow’s milk or buffalo’s milk is used to make a creamy, sweet curd known as juju dhau. Kheer consists of rice, nuts, dried fruit, sugar and saffron, combined to create a thick pudding. Another creamy dessert is sikarni – where sugar, green cardamom and saffron are used to flavour drained yoghurt. Even anarsa (a cookie) has rice as it’s foundation, combined with lemon, sesame seeds, ghee, cardamom, sugar and nuts. Carrot pudding is well-liked, as are all manner of sweets that not only taste divine but look beautiful too.