Category Archives: Newari Food

Dahi Chiura Ceremony

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had my baby shower but I was waiting for my parents to arrive from Nepal to do a traditional baby shower, also known as Dahi chiura ceremony in Nepali or Dhau-baji in Newari.

In this ceremony, the mother-to-be’s family comes to feed Dhau-baji (yogurt and flattened/beaten rice) and brings Sagun and lots of food along with gifts for the mother-to-be as well as the unborn baby.

My parents have arrived in Sydney now so I am extremely happy as I will have a helping hand to look after the little one for the first few months. I could not imagine how I would have managed if they were not here.

Last weekend, my parents along with the help of my brother and SIL organised the Dahi Chiura ceremony. It was a traditional ceremony with the ladies all wearing saris.

Dhai Chiura (14)

My mum made Yomari and sagun (bara, boiled eggs, chicken and fish) for the occasion and bought some sweets, fruits and cakes as well. They also bought clothes for me along with jewelleries as well as things for little one.

Dhai Chiura (5) Dhai Chiura (4) Dhai Chiura (3) Dhai Chiura (1)

It was a family affair with just me, AS, my parents, brother, SIL and my little nephew.

Dhai Chiura (15) Dhai Chiura (2)

For the ceremony, my mum followed the followings steps, if anyone wants to know. It might be different for different cultures but I believe the basic will remain the same.

Dhai Chiura (6) Dhai Chiura (7)

  • The ritual started with my mother worshipping Lord Ganesh in the Sukanda. She put tika made of vermillion, rice and yogurt and flowers on Lord Ganesh..
  • Then she put tika for me and AS.
  • Then she gave us the gifts of fruits, sweets, clothes, and jewelleries.
  • This was followed by Sagun and then the main event of dahi chiura, where everyone feeds me dahi chiura.
  • Everyone was given Sagun and sweet as well after this.
  • Thus the main event of dahi chiura is was conclude.
  • Cake is normally not a traditional inclusion for dahi chiura but we had one so I and AS cut the cake together

Dahi Chiura (12) Dahi Chiura (13) Dahi Chiura (16)

For many reasons, the dahi chiura ceremony is one of my favourite celebrations for our coming daughter.

Dahi Chiura (9) Dahi Chiura (10) Dahi Chiura (11)

In addition to normal family dahi chiura, the pregnant mother is often invited by her relatives to eat meals with them. I had invited many of my family and friends who were pregnant to my place and done the same ceremony so it is my turn to be invited to my close friends and family’s place for the dahi chiura ceremony as well.

It was really nice of all of them to get involved making me and the baby feel special. Here are some of the pics from various occasions of dahi chiura. I was spoiled with lots of blessings, yummy foods and lots of useful gifts .

Dahi Chiura (18)

I am so glad that we are keeping Nepali traditional alive living so far from home and I want to show all these photos to my daughter one day and explain the traditions and culture.

Hope you enjoyed the traditional way of Nepali/Newari baby shower.

Take care,

from nepaliaustralian

XOXO 

Payaj ko pakoda (Crispy Onion Fritters)

As you know mums love to cook and my MIL is no exception so when she was here we got to eat a variety of Newari and Nepali food like Yomari, Haluwa, aloo chops and she also made Pyaj ko pakoda.

Pyaj means onion in Nepali.

The process is very simple and I am sharing the recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium size Onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup Gram Flour (Besan Flour)
  • 1/4 cup Rice Flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Coriander Leaves
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • In a bowl, mix sliced onion gram flour, rice flour, ginger, red chilli powder, coriander leaves and salt.

Payaj ko pakoda (1)

  • Add ¼ cup of water and mix well and keep aside for 5 minutes.
  • The onion pakoda batter is ready to be fried. Do not add more water unless required otherwise pakodas will not turn crispy.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan (or wok) and take a handful of batter mixture in the hand and gently drop 3-4 small fritters into the oil at a time and deep fry.

Payaj ko pakoda (2)

  • Fry the onion pakodas, till they look crisp and golden on both sides (once the underside is golden brown turn them over so both sides are golden). Repeat the process for the remaining batter and deep-fry in batches.
  • Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on the kitchen paper towels for excess oil to be absorbed.

Payaj ko pakoda (3)

  • Serve onion pakodas with your favourite sauce.

Payaj ko pakoda (4)

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Nirbuni for my nephew (second birthday)

I swear it feels like yesterday that I told you I had a new man in my life (my li’l nephew) and gosh it has been two years now. Even though he was born in 18 July, we celebrated his birthday on 26th of July which was determined by his birth chart and our own Nepali calendar.

Since his birth, he has given joy to everyone including his parents, us, my parents and my sister in law’s parents. When he was visiting last month to Nepal, he was the apple of the eye and was spoiled rotten by everyone.

Strangely, for reasons unknown and out of traditions handed down from generation to generation, the first birthday of a child is not celebrated by Newars. When a child is born, he will have chhaiti, nawaran then pasni. After pasni, the big celebration is second birthday, which is known as Nirbuni in Newari.

According to tradition, we make Yomari every even birthday (2, 4, 6, 8, 12) until a child turns 12. Yomari is a delicacy of the Newars. It consists of an external covering of rice-flour and an inner content of sweet substances such as chaku (Molasses).

yomari

During Nirbuni, a big puja is performed and the child is given a garland made out of two yomaris. The child is also given tika and sagun and prayed to ward off evil spirits from the child’s body. If we were in Nepal, relatives would come along with gifts and sweets for the kid. Therefore, this birthday was a big deal for us.

We started Saturday making yomari and sagun. With the help of our cousin it was done and then the puja started. My nephew was good during the puja as he sat on his dad’s lap while I perform the puja.

Nirbuni  (12)I am not expert on performing the puja but this is what I did.

  • First I gave Nasala, a few drops of water, in the palm of the right hand of my nephew to sprinkle some into his mouth and the rest over his body for purification.
  • Then I put tika on Lord Ganesh with water, rice, flowers, and vermilion powder as well as a plate of sagun in front of him.
  • Then I gave water, rice, flowers, and vermilion powder to my nephew to worship the Lord Ganesh and also to all the God and Goddess by throwing the rice towards the ceiling.
  • Then I placed tika on his forehead and put a flower on his head.

Nirbuni  (14)Nirbuni  (11)

  • Then I placed the Yomari mala followed by flower mala.

Nirbuni  (13)

  • After that I put bits of rice, radish, coins, cucumber in a small container and poured them on his head. This is believed to take all the evil spirits away from him. I did this three times.

Nirbuni  (8)

  • Then,I gave Sagun to him. For Sagun, you put a plate of egg, bara (lentil cake), meat (chicken), a piece of giner and fish in the right hand and yogurt in the left hand.

Nirbuni  (9)Nirbuni  (15)

  • Once the process is finished with my nephew, I gave tika to the rest of the family, followed by sagun.

My parents and my SIL’s parents were on skype watching the ceremony. They were happy to watch all the ceremony even though they are so far away.

I also took tray of fruits, biscuits and a three piece suit for him as a birthday gift.

Nirbuni  (10)

He looked really adorable in the suit.

Nirbuni  (5)Then there was a party in the evening. I did the decoration and was happy with the result. It was a fun party with lots of kids.

Nirbuni  (7)

The house was chaotic in a good way for the rest of the evening where kids ran, laughed , danced and played.

Nirbuni  (3) Nirbuni  (2)We had a nice cake for him and the food was catered so everyone enjoyed the day. It was such a fun day and the little man was very happy with all the attention and gifts.

Nirbuni  (1)

On Sunday, I baked cupcakes for him to take to his childcare to celebrate his birthday. The childcare request simple individual cupcakes so I baked them myself.

Nirbuni  (6) Nirbuni  (4)Overall, it was a great nirbuni celebration for my nephew.

Wishing little man all the happiness of this world.

Take care ,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Another trip planned :)

I have great news; I am going to Kathmandu again. And yes there is a reason we are going, yet another celebration. My brother in law is getting married. I will be there in a months’ time and it will be a great time to see my parents and in law again. It has been a year since we are back from our last trip but I can’t wait to go again.

Nepal (12)

Our holiday has been approved at work and we have booked our tickets so it is all set, counting down the days now.

I have even started my shopping for gifts. Amazingly, we say, we will never do a big shopping for gifts each time we return from Nepal. But each time before we go there, we make a list of gifts. This time too the list is long with names of people we want to buy for but I am happy to buy as their smile is worth the trouble we go through. Looks like for the next few weekends that is all we will be going.

In addition, I will be buying things for my future SIL. I already bought things like perfumes, make-up and other items but still there are a few other things still on the list.

I have never met my soon to be SIL but we have chatted a few time on Facebook. She seems to be nice girl and I am sure she will make my BIL very happy.

Wedding always excites me and this time it is at home so it will a be really fun filled event  with lots of foods, music, dances, ritual and people. I will definitely report on everything.

As usual every time I plan to go to Nepal I have a long list of things to do and buy and I have never manged to cross off everything. I am hoping this time I will be able to do a lot.

I really want to buy some specific decoration items for our home here so every day I can see them and admire them. I am looking for one big painting (I am not very sure but still want to try before forking out money here) and some traditional masks.

I am also thinking I should look for some traditional cushions .

As usual, I need to buy lehengas and saris for the wedding and accessories to go with them. I am sure until the wedding is over, we will be extremely busy but I have a few weeks after the wedding when I can to do things that I like.

The top one is trekking somewhere in Nepal. I am not even sure that it will be possible, as trekking requires at least a week but I will try my best. My list has grown longer day by day so hope to tick off most of it while I am there.

Anyway looking forward to enjoying the company of my family and friends and be spoiled soon. Hope I might even meet a few of my blogging buddies there like last time.

Take care everyone ,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Discovering Newari cuisine

I am sure all of you know by now that I am bit of a foodie and I love to try new recipes and anything unusual. I have tried many different cuisines and even snails, frogs, stingrays, rabbits, kangaroos, and camel too. But I have to admit, my native cuisine, Newari, is always close to my heart. Even though I love momo and think that it is the best food in the world, Newari food like bara, yomari, chatamari are still my all-time favourites. I still remember my grandma and my mum making them for us when we were little.

I didn’t know how to make most of these Newari foods when I first came to Australia but I have learned how to make some of them now. And I am determined to learn more in the future so I can make them for my friends and family.

We had heard that a new restaurant called “Bhanchha” had opened in Sydney a while ago advertising themselves as “The Nepalese Newari taste”. As there are hardly any places else for us to go and try authentic Newari food, we were meaning to go there for a while.

Finally, we managed to go there with some of our friends last week. I was a bit surprised with the casual look of restaurant as I had fine dining in my mind. As we walked into the restaurant, the front area was empty and no one was there to greet us. We kept walking until we reached the inner half of the restaurant. There the waiter showed us to our table and handed us the menu. The menu was just a normal one so I got the idea that they want to be casual dining and not fine dining.

Looking at the menu, I was transported to Kathmandu straight away. They were serving Haku chhoyal (grilled spiced meat), fokso (goat lungs) fry , Jibrao (goat tounge) fry, Nhyapu (goat brain) fry, Bhutan ( intestine, giblets etc.) fry, Tahakhala ( special jellied meat), Sanya khuna (special jellied meat with fish) as well as bara, chatamari, aaloo tama. I stopped on the first page as there were so many things I wanted to try.

After thinking about it, we ended up ordering momo (of course), Fokso fry, Jibrao fry, Nhyapu, Sanya khuna and Samay Baji set.

All food came to our table in reasonable time and they looked very appetizing. All of us agreed that the food tasted very authentic and were delicious. We had one non-Nepali in our table and he loved all the food too.

I just love their Nhyapu out of everything and we ended up ordering one more serve of it. I was really impressed because they all were typical Newari food and it is definitely a privilege to get that so easily in Sydney.

One thing I didn’t like was Sanya khuna as it was not as set as it was supposed to be. It was a bit runny instead of jelly. But the taste was still good, may be they just needed to make sure they serve it straight from the freeze to the table.

In Samay Baji set, I was happy to taste chhoyala, aaloo tama, achar, bodi and bhatmas. All the food was definitely good and it was a perfect place if you are trying to introduce Newari cusine to someone new.

We also tried Ranjana ko Cola, special type of drink where coke is mixed with spices to enhance the flavour. I was not a fan of it in Nepal and I didn’t find it very special but my husband told me that it did taste like what he used to drink during our school years in Nepal.

If you are in Sydney, I recommend this place to try Newari cusine. The price of food is very reasonable as we ordered lots of food and end up paying only $20/person so it is definitely value for money. Just remember it is not fine dining when you go there so you don’t get disappointed by the look of the place and their service.

The only disappointment was I wish they looked after the toilet a bit more. The ladies toilet I went to had no lock and it was not too clean.  Food wise the restaurant is really good and the place can be better if they improve the ambiance and service.

We are already planning to again soon and this time we are taking more of our Non Nepali friends so they can enjoy typical Newari food.

P.S: We believe that when an animal is killed for consumption, no part of the animal should go to waste and Newar people have mastered how to make each part delicious over the years. I am sure anyone who has ever tried Newari cuisine will agree with me.

P.S.S: Do not forget to nominate  your favorite blog .

Nominations open for NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2013