About / introduction

There can be no doubt that authentic home style Nepali cuisine is little known to UK / Western lovers of South Asian cuisine.  A little known to the general population testimony to the very high level of Nepali expertise in the domain of food, is that in the UK, the Indian catering restaurants sector commonly holding the view that to secure a Nepali chef is one of the great benefits for success and reputation of a restaurant. 

There are of course many other reasons why in the West, Nepali cuisine is long overdue for much better profiling.  This book/information resource has as its one of its main purposes to provide an information resource and point of reference by which this goal can be realised. 

Beyond the technical level, looking at authentic traditional to contemporary Nepali foods extremely wide, comprehensive range of dishes and side dishes and related topics, this book/information resource seeks to explain the special role of food in Nepali culture. 

Regarding this, this book and accompanying website —  http://foodsofnepal.com/  — is a standalone component of a larger project, the UK Nepali community cultural & social heritage information resource, facilitated by the UK Nepal Friendship Society in partnership with major UK Nepali national to smaller local area and particular Nepali communities, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), whose support for enabling the main project, and this Nepali cuisine component, is greatly appreciated.  

The dedication/Best Wishes formal notes section of the book details clearly and powerfully the core purposes and audiences and beneficiaries of the information resource/book.

As the title of the book version of the information resource indicates our approach has been to look at Nepali cuisine from a home cooking perspective.  We also hope Nepali Cuisine: Discovering a little-known but important South Asian Cuisine will provide a basis for UK culinary schools and colleges to embrace Nepali cuisine as a major UK South Asian cuisine, incorporating its study into their curricula. 

In addition, knowledge of authentic Nepali home cooked food, which has always informed the menus of our British Nepali restaurants, this book/information resource will make visiting the latter a much richer experience. 

It will in particular, provide important and little known outside the community, knowledge on various aspects of customs and culture of the Nepali community.  Further, and relating to the latter it provides an invaluable resource for those who wish to visit Nepal and enjoy these delicious special dishes and types of food in the land of their origin.  Food tourism is certainly a de-facto major element to all international travel, ranking alongside the cultural arts, and often leaving life-long passions for and enjoyment of the types of food tasted when abroad.

The book details main and secondary ingredients (the book contains a dedicated section regarding these) used in popular and lesser-known Nepali home cooking, giving Nepali as well as English names for these, to share with the reader valuable knowledge on ingredients by encouraging the learning of the terms in Nepali. Knowledge of such terms is a main route to learning in more depth about the culture of other peoples and lands; something commonly connected to learning words and phrases in the given language of origin. 

Some of the ingredients terms are similar to but only a very few exactly the same in Hindi, whilst others are distinctly Nepali, which spans culinary cultural zones from the Upper Himalaya (Sherpa) through to Gurkha and Newari (mainly across central Nepal and the Kathmandu Valley, including regional variations) and through to the Terai (Nepal – India Gangetic plains, with year-round warm to hot temperatures) region of the south, bordering India.

As with China and the Far East and South-East Asia, food ingredients have a direct health and wellbeing purpose in addition to being building blocks for the taste and texture of dishes and accompaniments. There is a distinct medicinal and health maintaining or restoring dimension therefore to Nepali food, and this relates to properties and specific nutrition effects of different ingredients, which can have prescription type dimensions (‘cooling, warming’ etc.) to match the health needs that particular, often extreme and very different climatic zones cause. 

As well as in response to individuals’ overall health and specific health conditions, ingredients often relate to the particular types of plants or animals that are commonplace in, but sometimes rarely found elsewhere, in certain climatic zones and geographical locations. 

The ingredients section of this book (ingredients/health section on the foods of Nepal website) provides nutrients information for each of the main and some of the more rarely used ingredients in Nepali cuisine with reference to these nutrients health & medical benefits: each of the dishes and side dishes, main component of the book starts with a section detailing the nutrients & their health benefits of the main ingredient(s) of the given dish.

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