All About Nepali Food Ingredients: #1 Best Guide

Have you ever tried Nepali food like lentil soup, dal bhat, momo, vegetable curry, or aloo tama? If yes, you would know that nothing can compare to the beautifully blended ingredients concocted in Nepali foods, especially when it comes to spicy meal items. So, if you have a bucket list to visit Nepal anytime soon, we suggest you learn a little more about Nepalese cuisine, their language, and the traditional Nepali food ingredients that can become a great asset to you.

In this article, we learn about the national dish of Nepal and the essential vocabulary and facts about the food items such as लसुन (garlic), नुन (salt), बेसार (turmeric powder), etc., that each dish features. Knowing such words and facts will help you shortlist the dishes you want to try out. Want to learn more? Continue reading below!

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The Nepalese Cuisine And Cooking

Let us now have a quick brief about the unique culture of cooking that lies in a country between India and China, Nepal. From a deep-fried spring roll to a rice flour side dish, you find everything in the streets of Nepal that has nurtured excellent cooks and recipes. However, most people are unknown of the exciting facts about the traditional dish and cooking styles of Nepali food culture. So, below we will find a few points and tips that will help you get accustomed to the local taste of Nepali food.

1. Nepalese food mostly includes vegetarian items = Being a country filled with diverse people, it is a given that they have ethnic food with meat toppings, but most Nepali food is meat-free and is the best for vegetarian people.

2. Nepali cuisine is nothing without dal bhat = Dal bhat is mainly a dish consisting of rice and lentil soup, one of the most famous dishes you cannot oversee once you are in the country. Dal is the lentil soup, and bhat means boiled rice. The typical dal has an authentic taste that locals usually consume with rice during lunch as it is a rich source of carbs.

3. Dhindo and Ghundruk is the national staple dish of Nepali cuisine = It is a dish that is made of millet flour, buckwheat flour, and regular wheat flour. The nutritional value of Dhindo is very high and is prepared simply by boiling and stirring the mix.

4. Most dishes are influenced by Tibetan and Chinese cuisines. Many noodle soup food items come from these backgrounds.

Nepali Dishes You Must Try Out!

Here is a list of all the popular dishes from Nepali cuisine that you cannot miss out on! For detailed learning, check out best Nepali food.

  • Dhindo- Served with various types of curries and meat.
  • Sel roti- Traditional Bread-made sweet dish
  • Momo- Type of dumpling
  • Lafhing- Tibetan street food
  • Sadheko Sukuti- Spicy meat dish
  • Juju Dhau- Nepali yogurt

5+ Traditional Nepali Food Ingredients

Nepali food ingredients

In this section, we will go through some of the commonly used spices and condiments in Nepali cuisine. Each of the following items is something that is traditionally consumed and utilized to concoct local dishes by Nepali people daily. So, let’s get started.

1. Lentils – दाल

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]दाल[/Speechword]

The first ingredient has to be lentils known as दाल- Dāla. It is the primary ingredient used in making Dal Bhat, and as already discussed, Nepali cuisine is incomplete without lentil soup. So, Lentils are among the traditional items that locals cannot live without.

2. Coriander – धनिया

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]धनिया[/Speechword]

The second most widely used food item is Coriander seed or leaves known as धनिया- Dhaniyā. It is used for garnishing in many dishes like lentil soup, fried rice, mashed potato, etc. It is popular because of the flavor and pleasant smell mostly added at the end of preparation.

3. Chili – खुर्सानी

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]खुर्सानी[/Speechword]

When we say spicy, chilies will always be the first thing we think about. So, खुर्सानी, pronounced as Khursānī, is one of the traditionally used and eaten items by the Newari people. From vegetable curries to minced-meat spicy lafhings, the Newari culture cannot work without the original flavor of chilies.

4. Mustard Oil – तोरीको तेल

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]तोरीको तेल[/Speechword]

Just like the spices, Mustard oil, called Tōrīkō tēla, is a must-have item in the Newari Kitchen. It is extracted from mustard seeds तोरीको दाना (Tōrīkō dānā) and is used in every other dish like chicken curry, lentil soups, momos, etc.

5. Fenugreek seeds – मेथी

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]मेथी[/Speechword]

मेथी- Mēthī or Fenugreek seeds are another common ingredients that you will find in many dishes of Nepal. It is used fried or fresh to finish items like curries, meat dishes, and even sauces.

6. Turmeric – बेसार

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]बेसार[/Speechword]

When it comes to Indian or Nepali food, turmeric, known as Bēsāra, is one of the top ingredients you must have in your cabinets. It is used in almost every dish to give that beautiful yellowish tone and a taste that can make cravings a real deal. From fried vegetables to chicken rice, turmeric can be smelled everywhere.

7. Potatoes – आलु

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]आलु[/Speechword]

Other than spices, potatoes- Ālu also play a massive role in the Newari kitchen. It is used on many plates, and even simple boiled potatoes are eaten regularly by the locals. One of the most popular potato dishes is Saadheko-Aalu, made by mixing potato with spices. Even meat and potato curries are quite the hype.

8. Ajwain Seeds – अजवाइनको बीउ

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]अजवाइनको बीउ[/Speechword]

Ajwain seeds or Ajavā’inakō bī’u are also frequently used in Nepalese cooking. It is similar to cumin and fennel seeds and has a strong fragrance that makes the food delicious and flavorful.

9. Rice – चामल

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]चामल[/Speechword]

Just like any other Asian country, Nepal also loves rice to its core. Cāmala is one of the main items that can be counted in regular Nepali staples, consumed as steamed rice with dal, fried rice, pulao, etc. No matter where you go, every restaurant will have rice servings as their main course.

10. Corn – मकै

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]मकै[/Speechword]

मकै- Makai, or Corn in Nepali cuisine, is another religiously used ingredient. It is cooked and consumed in various ways, like boiled, fried, or even grilled. Corn flakes, corn flour, and corn rice grains are also quite popular in Nepal.

Other Ingredients In The Nepali Kitchen

Nepali food

Now that we know some commonly used ingredients of the Nepali kitchen, below is a list of all common spices and vegetables that a conventional kitchen has in its store. Learning these will improve your vocabulary and give you a more comprehensive view of the Nepali language.

Condiments – मसलाहरू (Masalāharū)

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]मसलाहरू[/Speechword]

Nepali food cannot persist without spices. Below is the list of spices that are less commonly known in Nepal but are inevitably present in most dishes.

BasilतुलसीTulasī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]तुलसी[/Speechword]
Bay leavesबे पातहरूBē pātaharū[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]बे पातहरू[/Speechword]
Chili powderखुर्सानी को धुलोKhursānī kō dhulō[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]खुर्सानी को धुलो[/Speechword]
CinnamonदालचीनीDālacīnī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]दालचीनी[/Speechword]
Cardamom powderअलैंची पाउडरAlain̄cī pā’uḍara[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]अलैंची पाउडर[/Speechword]
ClovesलौंगLauṅga[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]लौंग[/Speechword]
CuminजीराJīrā[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]जीरा[/Speechword]
Onion Powderप्याज पाउडरPyāja pā’uḍara[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]प्याज पाउडर[/Speechword]
OreganoओरेगानोŌrēgānō[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]ओरेगानो[/Speechword]
PaprikaपेपरिकाPēparikā[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]पेपरिका[/Speechword]
Thyme seedsथाइमको बीउThā’imakō bī’u[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]थाइमको बीउ[/Speechword]

Fruits- फलहरू (Phalaharū)

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]फलहरू [/Speechword]

Appleस्याऊSyā’ū[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]स्याऊ[/Speechword]
AvocadoएभोकाडोĒbhōkāḍō[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]एभोकाडो[/Speechword]
BananasकेराKērā[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]केरा[/Speechword]
CherriesचेरीCērī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]चेरी[/Speechword]
Dragon fruitड्र्यागन फलḌryāgana phala[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]ड्र्यागन फल[/Speechword]
GrapefruitअंगूरAṅgūra[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]अंगूर[/Speechword]
GuavaअमरूदAmarūda[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]अमरूद[/Speechword]
KiwiकिवीKivī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]किवी[/Speechword]
MangoआँपĀm̐pa[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]आँप[/Speechword]
OlivesजैतूनJaitūna[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]जैतून[/Speechword]
Orangesसुन्तलाSuntalā[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]सुन्तला[/Speechword]
PeachesपीचहरूPīcaharū[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]पीचहरू[/Speechword]
PineappleअनानासAnānāsa[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]अनानास[/Speechword]
Strawberriesस्ट्रबेरीSṭrabērī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]स्ट्रबेरी[/Speechword]
WatermelonतरबूजTarabūja[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]तरबूज[/Speechword]

Vegetables- तरकारी (Tarakārī)

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]तरकारी [/Speechword]

BeansसिमीSimī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]सिमी[/Speechword]
Bitter gourdतिते करेलाTitē karēlā[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]तिते करेला[/Speechword]
CucumberकाकडीKākaḍī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]काकडी[/Speechword]
CarrotsगाजरGājara[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]गाजर[/Speechword]
Mushroomच्याउCyā’u[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]च्याउ[/Speechword]
Onionप्याजPyāja[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]प्याज[/Speechword]
PeasमटरMaṭara[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]मटर[/Speechword]
Sweet potatoगुलियो आलुGuliyō ālu[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]गुलियो आलु[/Speechword]
TomatoटमाटरṬamāṭara[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]टमाटर[/Speechword]
YamयामYāma[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]याम[/Speechword]

Leafy Greens- पातदार हरियो (Pātadāra hariyō)

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]पातदार हरियो[/Speechword]

Apart from spices, Nepali food also feature a lot of greens. These items make the food healthy, tasty, and even colorful. No wonder Nepali food looks attractive from a thousand miles away!

ArugulaअरुगुलाArugulā[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]अरुगुला[/Speechword]
Broccoliब्रोकाउलीBrōkā’ulī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]ब्रोकाउली[/Speechword]
Cabbageबन्दकोबीBandakōbī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]बन्दकोबी[/Speechword]
CauliflowerफूलगोभीPhūlagōbhī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]फूलगोभी[/Speechword]
CeleryअजवाइनAjavā’ina[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]अजवाइन[/Speechword]
KaleकालेKālē[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]काले[/Speechword]
LettuceसलादSalāda[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]सलाद[/Speechword]
SpinachपालकPālaka[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]पालक[/Speechword]
Spring onionवसन्त प्याजVasanta pyāja[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]वसन्त प्याज[/Speechword]

Meat – मासु (Māsu) And Seafood – समुद्री खाना (Samudrī khānā)

[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]मासु [/Speechword]/[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]समुद्री खाना [/Speechword]

Nepal is the go-to place for non-vegetarians from masala meat curry to spicy fish chutney, you will find everything on the Newari table.

BaconबेकनBēkana[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]बेकन[/Speechword]
Beefगाईको मासुGā’īkō māsu[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]गाईको मासु[/Speechword]
Chicken breastकुखुराको स्तनKukhurākō stana[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]कुखुराको स्तन[/Speechword]
Chicken liverकुखुराको कलेजोKukhurākō kalējō[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]कुखुराको कलेजो[/Speechword]
Crabक्र्याबKryāba[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]क्र्याब[/Speechword]
LambभेडाBhēḍā[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]भेडा[/Speechword]
Lobsterलोब्स्टरLōbsṭara[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]लोब्स्टर[/Speechword]
MuttonमटनMaṭana[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]मटन[/Speechword]
Octopusअक्टोपसAkṭōpasa[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]अक्टोपस[/Speechword]
Oysterओइस्टरŌ’isṭara[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]ओइस्टर[/Speechword]
PrawnझींगाJhīṅgā[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]झींगा[/Speechword]
Porkपोर्कPōrka[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]पोर्क[/Speechword]
Salmonसाल्मनSālmana[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]साल्मन[/Speechword]
Squidस्क्विडSkviḍa[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]स्क्विड[/Speechword]
TunaटुनाṬunā[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]टुना[/Speechword]
Turkeyटर्कीṬarkī[Speechword voice=”Nepali” isinline]टर्की[/Speechword]

Wrapping Up!

So there you go! Now you know the translations and how to pronounce different ingredients in the Nepali language. Learning these will surely enhance your language skills and unlock a power that will allow you to explore Nepali cuisines freely.

If you think this blog was helpful, don’t forget to look into other blog posts by the Ling App, such as emergency phrases, business vocab, music culture, and many more. Just download the app from App Store or Play Store and enjoy your reading journey!

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