Newars Are Not Only Known For Being Culinary Artisans, They Are Amazingly Skilled Craftsmen – Chef Bikram Vaidya

Newars have developed a purely urban mode of living, and society has become increasingly sophisticated as has the cuisine of the valley. Newa cuisine is strongly influenced by India and Tibet but has its own unique cooking technique and flavors. Today’s Newars have the most exclusive culinary tradition and their cuisine is well-known in Nepal. In other Nepalese communities, there is a saying, “Newars bigryo bhojle.” meaning Newars spend a significant amount of wealth on their feasts and festivities.

Creativeness is driven by the amazing varieties of foods available in the valley. Very fertile land allows for a vast selection of vegetables and many different types of rice to be grown. Cookery varies within Newar communities. The dishes and cooking style are quite complex and people have established their individual style. Food is not as spicy as Indian food. There are no standard recipes for each dish, but there are similarities in cooking technique and flavouring agents. Combinations of technique and use of aromatics make Newa food delicious. There are different ethnic groups in Nepa, and each one of them has some sort of special dishes, passed on from previous generations. Quite often, the taste, color, texture, and appearance of the same delicacy changes from the kitchen to the kitchen.

A typical daily Newari meal consists of JA(boiled rice), kyen(lentil soup), tarkari(vegetables), achar(chutney or pickle), and laa(fish, chicken, or meat), Mari(pastries and flatbreads) are widely eaten during morning meals. Even in a poor household, there will be a reasonable balance of nourishment: carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Fresh food is most desired, and it should be simple and simply prepared, whether dishes are moist, dry, or fried; seasoning is mild or hot, but flavor must be traditional. Various foods are served individually on brass or steel plates and bowls, rice is center attraction and the rest of the dishes are served as condiments surrounding the rice. Some dishes are only made during winters such as takhaa and sannya khuna(meat jello and fish jello), saapu mhicha(bone marrow stuffed in trip purses), kachila(spiced raw minced meat), chataamari (rice crepes), woo(lentil pancake), chhoyela(grilled spiced meat), sekuwa(fried meat), pukala(fried entrails) and mye(fried tongue), nhyapu puka(steamed brain) and momo(meat dumpling), are signature bhati(bar) and street foods.

Newars take pride in their plates, pots, pans, and utensils they use in their house. There are many different metals used in cooking vessels and utensils, such as clay, copper, brass, iron, aluminum, and wood. Years of exploration and experience in cooking food in different types of pots and pans gave them a deep understanding of differences in flavor. They have discovered metal release toxins when combined with certain foods during cooking, so they use different shapes and metal alloys for their cooking pots. They use different types of stoves, using local resources such as wood, sawdust, wood chips, charcoal, and animal dung. No kitchen is without karahi and mortar and pestle, and a flat grinding stone. The grains are stored in vakari, which is made of bamboo, wood, or clay and straw. Taypah and ghaa, made out of brass, copper or clay, for storing liquid items. Modernization is changing these traditional vessels and pots to the point that most young families are buying modern inventions such as microwaves. However, during traditional large banquets, food is still served in “lapte ow dolcha” plates and bowls made of sal tree leaves, for easy composting.

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