My Favorite Nepali foods!! Part 1.

  1. 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.

Haat kaa maila sun kaa thailaa, ke garnu dhanle? – (हातका मैला सुनका थैला, के गर्नु धनले )
Saag ra sisnu khaaeko besa aanandi manle! – (साग र सिस्नु खाएको बेस आनन्दी मनले)
Translation:  Sacks of gold are like collected dirt on your hands, what is one to do with all these wealth? 
It is better to eat nettles greens and cultivate happiness in your heart. ( reference- TASTE OF NEPAL blog 🙂 )

Dhidho is a traditional Nepali food.

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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  😛

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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!!)

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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. 🙂

Nepal is a very small country. Now imagine how big is the capital city!! Yes, I was raised there. But unfortunately, like you folks who travel around majority of time and know every inch of your land from north-south, i don’t know. Lets just say, I was brought up like a ‘frog in a pond’, you might as well put it as a ‘frog in a bucket’ because, that is how limited my knowledge of geography about Nepal is.

i colori del Nepal

i colori del Nepal

But i sure can flash a torch light on things, i found interesting about living in Nepal. Of course, being one of the poorest countries, you do not have all the privileges available. And for a non-Nepali citizen, living in Nepal can be next to torture. Talk about pollution, crowded and dangerous transports, load shedding and etc etc. There are lot of issues!!

However, as i was raised there in such circumstances..i pulled through pretty well. I do not mean ‘such circumstances’ as in we are ancient, too backward on development and cut out from world. i mean is ‘Modernisation’ is patchy. Like geography itself,  lifestyles widely differs.

Here is my own personal list about ‘what i love about living in Nepal’. Hope you will like it.

1)The Scenery-Nepal has complex geographical structure. The valley itself, is actually shaped like a ‘saucer‘ with hills surrounding it from ‘all around’. Can you imagine looking at the hills from your terrace while you bid the sunset goodbye? Yeah that is how it feels 🙂 Its especially amazing in  september,october with Himalayas in clear view.

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2) Great places to escape within miles from valley- Tired of everyday routine? Frustrated? Want a fresh breath of air. No worries. Just a little outskirts from city, half an hour ride around, are amazing places to chill. Want to go trekking/ sight seeing or just a peaceful place to have deep conversations with. There are plenty of those. Just make sure,you have  a right friend so you don’t get too carried away in peacefulness though 😉

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3) Adventure in an affordable budget- Yes you read it right!! If you still want to go further than the valley? No problem. I tell you, you don’t even need to be loaded with cash to travel around Nepal. Just get one of those schemes with friends and go safari on chitwan or boating on pokhara or hiking to Rara or on a jeep ride to Mustang! Those places are amazing!          (Honestly,I have only been to few of those places 😦 But i plan to start my world travel tour from there ^_^!  )

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Still feel more adventurous? Then you can go ABC camp or even climb the Everest! What do you think? But then, that’s gonna cost..

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Sagar Bhandari

4)Always something to learn– One of the most appealing thing for me about Nepal is cultural diversity. As you travel along, you get to meet people from different ethnicity and culture and traditions. For me,it’s like meeting a whole new person from a different country,every time i meet someone outside my ethnicity. There is so much to talk about starting from food to dresses to cultural beliefs..and many more.

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5) Candle light date- This 5th on the list is definitely different than all i have mentioned above.  And yes, it is kind of irony, that we have so much load shedding 14-16 hours a day sometimes in Nepal, despite it being the second richest country in water resources. But, it is how it is. And yes we did have to survive without internet and fully charged cellphones many times.  However..for many of us, it actually gave us good memories.  How many times do you have a candle light date? Ask us and we will tell you ‘Countless’. hehehe.

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What i love about Nepal..

You should have..

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You should have left me alone.

You should have never picked up my broken heart.

What good did it make to us?

You are cut and

Your drop of blood stains my crystal clear pieces.

I am hurt and

All I can see is the remains of my shards still pierced,

Deep into your skin, craving for your comfort.



Here you are and here I am now,

We both walking away

‘clouded’ in our conscience..

With our sore memories of fruitless encounter,

Threatening us in thinking in our heads

‘Perhaps love was not just meant’



‘You’

Should have left me alone.

‘I’

Should have listened, should have known..

That awkward moments on train..

 

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Satachhi art

Seriously is it just me? Or everyone feels awkward, having their eyes locked in with a person sitting in-front of them? What do you do when that happens? That long uneasy minute, where you have to decide in a ‘zap’ seconds whether you should pull away or keep staring till one of you decides ‘you are not in who can stare long without closing eye lids game ‘ and give up.

When that happens to me, I try not to be ‘scary’ and divert my eyes away immediately. But then, the  problem is.. ‘where should i settle my restless eyes now to?’ Its faces everywhere.  Especially when you catch a train on peak hour. And you are seated very close front-front.

 

 Believe me, travel everyday by train and  you will get to encounter all sorta eyes, scouring around. Eyes that look dreamy, that are boring, tired, sleepy, ignorant etc etc. What really interests me though are the ones fixated in cellphones. What do they do? They don’t even have network underground. Looking over the same pictures over and over again? Wow!!
some people can do it for so long time. .

One time i even came across an advertisement that said ‘you are reading this because you feel awkward staring at the person in front of you and ….’ It was so hilarious that i literally burs ted out with laughter. YYYYEEESSSSS!!! that was why i was reading it on first place. (Really hot girl on front.. you know. Didn’t want her to feel like i was checking her out or something..i am a straight woman!! 😉 )

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Darren Thompson

Honestly, sometimes i don’t even remember where my eyes are settling at. Especially when i am daydreaming… By the time i realise, i have been staring the person in front me for minutes and minutes like i will murder them any moment now..

Thank God. They have started posting poems ‘beautiful ones!!’ once in a while here and there. I love that idea!!

Let me know about your train trips..I am excited to know.

Rainy thoughts..

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About.me

Its amazing how human beings can bond and break. One moment they are everything to you and the next moment they don’t even matter. One moment you are holding hands together and the next moment,even being in close proximity is suffocating..fuming with toxic air. 😤😤

But, i suppose that is not always the case. Some relations regardless ‘what you name them’ are ageless, spaceless and boundless.

Have you ever had one like that? May be it’s the one with your bestfriend or with that oh-so-special person of yours. A type of relation where you fight, you swear on, where you get hurt but you forget and forgive. May be not forget entirely but forgive ‘Yes’. Why?? Because, at the end of the day, you know it’s you who needs them and without them, you would be lost.

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Our feelings have changed now. We aren’t what we used to be..I remember excatly what he used to say ‘ you show up late L, but i know, you will always show up’..

(Sigh…) He will never say that to me again. He will never be hurt now when i don’t show up or if i show up late. But deep within me, i still know we are connected. When i cry, he’s still the first person i call. Not that i plan to..but i do always, to hear him explain to me that things will be alright. He soothes me. When i am happy, i still want him to be happy for me, to participate in my victory. Not that i plan to, but it’s a reflex. He adds so much more to my happiness. And because i know, no matter what my achievements are, he will always be genuinely happy for me.

My friends say what we have is ‘nameless’ after all what we couldnot have. And it is selfish of me, to not let him go. But they don’t understand ‘I can’t’. Despite how we ended, what we had was, what we will never lose.  There was more than love for us in those moments, there was respect, understanding and an unshakeable friendship. The remains of which i still want to preserve. Because, he was and still  is my family.No matter where we end up, he is still home for me. And i will always have my open arms for him.

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I don’t know..what is right and what is wrong. Do i feel like i am tying him up with my insanity. May be yes. But all i know, at the moment is, relations like what we have and what we are is  ‘one in million’. I will never let go, no-one can make me, and i will never let him ‘let go’.(( Can’t always reason feelings can you??May be that’s a beauty of being human. We are so complex 😋😋))

Regardless, What we have is ‘Ageless, timeless and boundless’. I will fight to keep it. Will you fight to keep yours?? 😊😊😊

xo xo.

Late night thought

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Sometimes in life, even though we wish and we want something to really work, we have to call it quits. Because..reality is cruel. And reality is, we can’t budge a step forward unless we close the old doors behind. Whether it is giving up on an abusive relationship with a husband with whom you are still madly in love with or leaving that job, that you never got good at. ‘Calling quits’ is ‘not failing’, it’s just a smart choice.

Yes.’What if?’ will always be there. Either you take a chance or leave it. But taking many chances on the ‘same thing’ and getting still stuck with taking more.. is foolishness.
You can help a baby make a decision, but for an adult ‘ you are rational enough and liable enough for your own actions. So, If you are chosing to be the victim, it’s your call. It’s your life.People have individual traits sadistic, masochistic all sorts of.May be you got one in you.

But If you are chosing to live, live it simple and be happy ..close one uncertainity..call in one quit and open yourself to the door of many uncertainities.

Nobody said life is easy’ it will never be easy to call in ‘quits’ but sometimes in life you have to. Some stories make to pages some get lost along with sealed lips. But if you make it less complex..you will be more happy than sad,this  i can promise to you.

Keep it simple.
Xo xo.

Entwined 32 ;)

 

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Ok i will.’laira jumps out with excitement, reaching out  for the drawer.

‘Before you say anything. I don’t want you getting out of your bed till you are completely fine. And definitely not making any plans with her for going out and staying over’. Her mom makes her statement ahead, lifting the empty mugs while preparing to leave the room, sure that ‘going out’ was what her daughter had in her head at the moment.

‘But Mom, i am done with high school. I want to relax  and hang out with friends for few days’

‘I am not saying you can’t. But not now, while you look like this.Wait a few days. I don’t want you catching flu again. And laira’ even though you are done with high school, house rules will still stand. You cannot stay out late after 8pm

‘Why not? It’s not like i am going to be staying out late everyday. Just sometimes’.laira protests, disbelieving, how her mom was still aiming to keep her house bounded for rest of her life.

‘ I am sorry, i am not as cool  parent as your friend keisha’s mom is but that’s how it is. Live  with it’.

Laira rolls her eyes and frowns. She stomps back to the sofa, throwing her jumper  at the bed, trying to make her own non-verbal statement.  ‘Manners please!’ her mother hisses,giving  her a concerned look one last  time before she leaves for  work.

‘Oh well, surely the crow was a bad news in the morning’ laira rants, looking out the window, as a raven flys by to the gray gloomy sky of london.

 

 

 

‘Laira!!! Where were you??’ keisha’s high pitched cry almost makes laira jump out of her bed in panic.

‘Damn my reflex..’ laira curses herself, picking up the phone from floor.

‘Where have you been?I have been trying to get to you for three days now! Do you know how worried i was?’ keisha fires, with no intent of stopping for her breath.

‘Oh..i was down with flu’ laira mumbles, trying to fill in the pause, keisha had graciously provided,for her to  make a reply.

 

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‘Down with flu? Can’t believe you didn’t tell me..i wanted to come and visit but i am scared of Mrs Nelumboo. She doesn’t seem to like me very  much.’

‘That’s not true Keisha. She likes you.’

She would, if i cover all my skin and walk with sweaters and pants’ keisha remarks. Then giggles on other end of the phone, knowing that what laira was telling, was an impossible lie to fake.

‘May be then she would like you more..’ laira chuckles too. Keisha was her best friend and none’s opinion counted when it came to Keisha, not even her Mom’s..

‘So everything aside. I got a very important thing to do for you laira’ Keisha adds.  I know you just got back from flu and stuffs. But you are not sick anymore. So you got to do this for me and for everyone’s sake ok? I am depending on you for this party to be a big sucess.’

Do what? What party? And how many times do i have to tell you keisha, breath in between, when you talk. It’s hard to catch up with you’.

 

Oh Sorry sweetie. I just got too  excited. I have so much to do and with you down and noone around to help me much with great ideas. I am having anxiety attacks. Wait a minute!!what??? Don’t tell me you don’t know about the party. What party? As in? You do know, i have a birthday next week? Don’t you?’ Keisha lashes over the phone.

 

 

 

‘Er..Yes’ laira replies, hesitantly after a moment , unsure, scratching her head.

I can’t believe you forgot your best friend’s birthday again? How could you?Anyways the main point is. I am throwing a party next week. And i want you to invite your two hunky friends.’ Keisha throws in bluntly.

‘What? Who hunky friends?’ laira asks, puzzled.

‘The one on white and the one on black. Ofcourse! Who would i be talking about?’ keisha frowns. ‘Do you see any hunky guys around worth my time?’

‘ I can’t’ laira answers instant. ‘What would they think of me Keisha?’

‘They are gonna think, you are much cooler person to hang out with, then what they thought of you initially!!’. Keisha exclaims in reply. ‘Come on laira. You have been hiding them to yourself for too long. We need to know them too. Especially me. I am your best friend. Beside,lets be honest,  your into Yanjas.  There isn’t any possibility you will date either of them, is there?’

‘Surely Not’. laira blushes.

‘Good. In fact, it’s better. So have you been seeing them often lately? Because we need to come up with a plan to invite them in my party. Knowing you, i know you can’t just ask?’

‘Who said we? And why will i do that keisha? It’s absurd.’ laira tries to reason her insane friend.

 

 

‘Hm. You are right. Better to be anonymous for my exquisite first impression huh?  Good idea! You do the invitation’.

‘What? No….’

‘I am your best friend Laira. You are suppose to drink a bottle of poison for me if i asked you to. Like i will for you’ Keisha answers disappointed to her reaction.

‘What? Are you crazy?’ Laira shrieks, startled.

‘Ok.. Ok.. May be i over exaggerated. But you got to bring them to my party laira. I have a thing for Sebastian. Help me. PLease’.

Entwined 31 ;)

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A Raven perches in the balcony of laira’s room.

‘Soosh..soosh, fly away’ laira’s mother Mrs Nelumboo makes an annoying noise clapping both her hands to scare the bird.  ‘kaw kaw’,it makes an angry sound, hovering above her head making 2-3 circles before it leaves.

‘Why are you making so much noise early in the morning mom?’  laira asks, waking up lazily, covering her ears with the pillows.

‘Nothing dear. Just that bird. Been seeing it, perched on this  balcony for quite a few days now. So, I was trying to drive it off’.

Why? It’s just a bird. Must have a nest near mom.‘ Laira questions,yawning, pulling up her hair to make a messy bun.

‘True. But not just any bird laira. It’s a crow. You know, how i feel about crows..’ Her mother answers in a concerned tone, handing her a mug of hot chocolate drink.

‘They bring ominous news. Beside, they live in flocks. It’s rather unusual to be seeing one out of it’s roost at this season. And nesting here, that also alone.’

‘Seriously’ laira throws her mother a disbelieving look.

‘Why are we having a talk about some bird early in this morning?  So what if it is a crow? Don’t be so superstitious Mom. They are birds. They have wings, they can fly and be anywhere they want to be at’

‘Beside i don’t suppose English crows bring ominous news ’. She giggles.

‘I suppose’ her mother smiles too.  ‘May be i am overthinking..’

‘But from where i come, crows were called the  messengers of death and bad news. I grew up believing the tales your grand mother told me about them. So don’t blame an old school for believing in stuffs she was taught to believe in’.

‘Nope. I don’t blame you. I blame grand-ma, for all her scary stories.’ laira responds instant, remembering that, she had to be in good terms with her mom today no matter what.

Dosen’t matter what she says, my answer has to be  yes..Make her happy and you will get to be happy when you step outside of this suffocating apartment’ she adds in to her mental note.

 

‘Thank you’ Mrs Nelumboo pats her head with delight.

While laira sips in her hot chocolate drink eagerly, Mrs Nelumboo watches her daughter eat a proper food after long time. Quite relieved to see her appetite back to normal after back and forth periods of ill helath, she questions.

‘ I am concerned  about you laira. Are you okay? You seem so tired and drained of energy all the time nowdays. Is it about the gap year dear?’

‘No Mom’ laira replies, still busy, slurping on her drink and taking a large bite of her morning sandwich, simultaneously.

‘If it is dear,then i  don’t want you to  worry. I promise you, it’s just this year. Next year, we will have enough saving for you to start on your university. Your Dad and i have talked about it’. Her mother adds again

‘I promise it’s not that’ Laira reassures her, this time more clearer. ‘ I ‘m actually glad i am taking a gap year.That way, I will have enough time to think which sub i want to pursue with’

‘Then what is it? There is definately something wrong with you nowdays’

‘I don’t know. But.. I feel all right. I just had a bad flu. Nothing to be worried about’.

‘All right. If that’s what you say’ Mrs Nelumboo finally gives in.

‘Oh that reminds me. Your friend Keisha called in last night. I didn’t want to wake you up, so i told her i will make sure you call her back after you are up. Your cellphone is in the drawer. Check there if she left you any messages.’

I can read you.

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I know how you see me, i can tell by the look of your eyes.
There is a tension in the air..
Comfort has long escaped me,
wagging pretentiously,
with a tail between it’s hind legs, behind.

Questioning..Curious,
yet the glaring of your devitalizing mind.
i can see,
your half drawn carefree smile for me,
of intimidation,of mockery,
trying to control over my insight.

But i am the wrong one to pick.
I have been through the likes of you many times.
So, you can watch me sit here and have a sip of  tea..
as my presence pierces your exhausting need, to accuse and feel right,
to topple over the weak and win the unjust fight.

I am fidgeting, yes..
cracking my nerves too in distress, at times.
But shhhh… ‘you’ will never feel that moment,
No, ‘you’ will never be able to steal the peace of my mind.
For, i am stronger than you are, in every way you can possibly be.
For, i am a believer, i perceive the light in the shadow less dark

that you will always hesitate to see.

‘I have an upper hand. i will always win’

A checklist ‘suitability for marriage’.

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123rf

A friend once told me ‘do you know who are the most racist in this world?’. I didn’t have to hear the answer. I knew and i know. ‘Asians’. Some may not agree to this but i talk  for the ‘majority’. It’s true. We are’ racist among ourselves, within our country, inside our communities, deeper in our neighbourhoods and segregated ‘inside and out’ even before we start to merge at the ground levels. So, it is no surprise to hear, we can be unwelcome of those outside the entire sphere. What better way to understand this division than understanding the basic principle of ‘Marriage’itself.

Let me begin, by sharing with you, my family’s expectation of me for choosing ‘Mr Right’. Believe me, it’s a very specific checklist, though it wasn’t presented to me initially as one. P.S Here is the reason why, i believe, i will be unmarried  ALLL my life. You’d be too, if you were in my place. 😉

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First, a simple geography and social background to help you understand why and how checklist came into  existence. Nepal is divided topographically into three distinct  areas. Himalayas, Hilly and Terai. With these three different regions, culture and  life style are also distinctly different. And another thing is, grossly Nepal has two distinct races of population. ‘Aryans’ and ‘Mongoloid’ which in former days didn’t prefer to intermingle among themselves. And within them, are still many subdivisions.

So, here is how this checklist works. For example, I am ‘Magar’ from mongoloid race. So what ‘list’ includes is, 1) A Nepali citizen, 2) Of Mongoloid race, 3) of Magar origin of same religious belief 4) with settlement in the hilly region  and 5) of same social hierarchy. Which means”” practically, my chances of finding ‘Mr Right’ narrows down from 50% to 25% and then to 12.5% with each additional category my parents decide to squeeze in!

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Now imagine my dilemma, in UK!! I might as well have to  post my picture with a hoarding board saying, these are the checklist, eligible bachelors please apply if you fill in at least 3 out of five criteria s. hehhe.

Thank Goodness. My Parents are now willing to comply and be more flexible. They have now  expanded their checklist to following options. 1) Best if previous criteria s work. 2)IF NOT, a well educated Nepali Guy. 3)If NOT, a well educated, Asian Guy in same working field as me.

I don’t know if they are willing to be more flexible than this, but for now, i am just laughing hard. This definitely is a plot to keep me house bound with them for rest of their life!! hahha. But again, i do know someday , when they see me still unmarried in my late 30s or 40s..They are going to be like ‘ please just make sure.. you get married’. hehehe.

72point

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