- Dhidho, Sishnu and Gundruk.
One cannot emphasize enough about ‘Dhidho and Sishnu’ as an authentic taste of Nepal, without mentioning a quote of poetry from one of the greatest writer of Nepali Literature, Laxmi Prashad Devkota.
Saag ra sisnu khaaeko besa aanandi manle! – (साग र सिस्नु खाएको बेस आनन्दी मनले)
Dhidho is a traditional Nepali food.
Mostly served with sishnu(a form of thick soup) and gundruk(fermented leafy green vegetable). It can be cooked of corn flour(makai), millet flour(kodo) or buckwheat(fapar). The recipe is very simple, as it only needs flour. But the process of stirring it and making it into a consumable paste is tiring!( Believe me, I have seen my mom do it a number of times). And although, it pairs up with shishnu well (explained below), it can be served with chicken soup or tomato soup too. (Like, I prefer it with chicken soup, not sishnu. Only a matter of personal taste, i guess 🙂 )
Similarly ‘Sishnu’, is basically nothing but a thick greenish soup. Prepared from sishnu leaves( commonly known as stinging nettle; as the name suggests, it has stingy leaves and stem), you would think it’s a wild plant when you first look at it, unpleasant and unpalatable to put into your mouth. And add to it, any painful experiences you have had being pricked by it, then it can be a ‘hard to digest cuisine’. Why did i say that? Well just for fun fact. In case you didn’t know, many Nepalese parents love whipping their children with sishnu leaves soaked on water, for their long lasting stingy effect. I tell you, it works better than ElectroConvulsiveTherapy for any kind of behavioral problems they are showing 😛
But, despite its notoriety, it is one of the most ‘favored dish’, among people of hilly and Himalaya region of Nepal. Taken as an medicinal herb, this soup prepared out of sishnu plant is believed to cure ailments such a Hypertension, Diabetes and bowel problems.
How do you eat something like that? Oh’ Don’t worry. Once it is prepared into soup, it will not sting or irritate your throat anymore. Infact, you will taste nothing but ‘how a soup is supposed to taste’. Now, Taste? you ask? Depends on what flavor you add to it. Because, as you know by now, the soup on its original form only consists of sishnu leaves stirred in hot boiling water with a pinch of salt added to it. How do you want it, depends on your choice. My mom likes adding only onions, preferring it to be as bland as possible.(She is so fond of it, she had whole bush on our front yard!!)
Not everyone in Nepal, even in Hilly and Himalaya region have dhidho as their staple diet. Those in kathmandu may not even have tasted it,although a number of restaurants readily serves it in their menu. Because, Staple meal for us, usually constitutes ‘Bhaat, Daal and Tarkari’ that i will be writing about on my next blog, which is more easy to prepare and offers more variety in taste.
In summary, from the health point of view, ‘dhidho and sishnu’ constitutes healthiest ingredients put together and boiled. No additional element not even oil, unless of course you want to change the flavor. But from taste point of view, i cannot guarantee you will like it, unless you are a foodie like me and are interested on experimenting with your taste buds. 🙂