Jimbu/Allium Hypsistum – The Flavor of Nepal

In my language, Jimbu is Himalaya Chives, and herb belonging to the onion family used extensively in the Mountainous and Himalayan regions of Nepal. Jimbu is the most familiar dry herb to Nepalis accord the world. It is our part of the herb identity of Nepal. It is composed of two species of Allium Hypsistum The herb, which has a taste in between onion and chives, is most commonly used dried.
Allium Hypsistum which is also commonly known as Jimbu a herb. This herb is used in most of the regions in Nepal. The taste of this herb is somewhere between that of onion and chives. It is mostly used in dried form. This herb is used to flavor vegetables, pickles, meat in Mustang. In the rest of the area of Nepal, this is used in lentils. If one wants to develop its flavor, the dried leaves can be fried in ghee.

Jimbu is massively used in Thakali Kitchen. Thakali is one of the 128 communities from Nepal. Their cooking technique is uniquely keeping simple so what you eat what you taste. I love their Thakali Khana set, Daal Bhat Tarkari, and Achar. They know to cook naturally without adding so many additions of spices. This cuisine is a true representation of the whole of Nepal cuisine.

In the rest of Nepal, it is most commonly used to flavor Kalo Daal (Black lentil or just simply lentil). The dried leaves are fried in Ghee Clarified Butter to develop their flavor. It is a wild and seasonal herb and harvest between June and September after harvest, people store Jimbu dried for later use since it is a seasonal herb.

It has traditionally proven medicinal value for flu, stomach aches. My grandma used to make clear soup, it was kind of stock and drink as medicine even keep away winter.

The following uses are known in the study:
  • 95% of households in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal use jimbu in cooking, in curries.
  • 38% of households use jimbu as the medicine usually as a treatment to curb flu.
  • 52% of households report having been involved in jimbu collections.
Alliums are members of the onion family. Among the best-known Alliums are chives, onions, garlic, and shallot. This hardy, easy to grow flowering bulb comes in a wide variety of colors, heights, and blooming times. Big, multi-floriated, round blooms are produced atop of a tall, sturdy spike. In general, they bloom from late spring to early summer. Prairie onion attracts butterflies. Leaves, bulbs, and bulblets can be used for food.
Early explorers ate them, and they were also used by the American settlers to treat colds, coughs, and asthma, and to repel insects.
Growing/Caring conditions of Allium hypsistum
  • Ornamental Onions, or Alliums, are grown from bulbs.
  • The flower head also produces seeds, but most gardeners plant the easy to handle bulbs.
  • Plant Allium bulbs in the soil in the fall, as soon as the ground can be worked.
  • Plant them to a depth of twice the diameter of the bulb.
  • If planting Allium seeds, sow them directly into the garden.
  • Plant the seeds just 1″ deep (2.5 cm).
  • Average Spacing 6 to 12Inches between the plants is required.
  • They like full sun to partial shade.
  • It is best to provide afternoon shade in hot climates.
  • The plant needs hardiness of USDA: 3 (mulched), 4-10
  • They tolerate poor soils but prefer it to be well-drained.
  • Adding a general-purpose fertilizer once in early spring is beneficial.
  • Keep the soil moist to slightly dry.
  • Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week.
  • Keep them well weeded, or apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the plants.
  • Allium plants should come back yearly for many years.
  • Alliums make good flowers. But, they will give off a slight onion scent.
  • Alliums have few insect or disease problems.

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