Call Yourself a Connoisseur? Indulge in the National Food of Nepal

Nepal country has been a cult favorite among trekkers and mountaineers – all thanks to the mighty Mt. Everest and several other trekking trails. But, here we are going to talk about one of the biggest cultural constrains of Nepal: food. The national food of Nepal – ‘Daal Bhaat’ – is a super food that is made every day in the Nepalese household. Rich in nutrients and great to taste, Daal Bhaat Tarkari is the comfort food for many Nepali’s living outside their country. Let’s uncover more about this beautiful dish, and how it has impacted the local culture.

Daal Bhaat Tarkari: An Introduction 

According to a few food historians, this composition of dishes came to Nepal from India and comprises of steamed rice, a plain lentil soup, and curried vegetables. Although the national food of Nepal is a pretty simple dish, the entire platter of rice and vegetables is very filling. The dish is usually served for lunch or dinner, but several teahouses up in the hills you might find the entire platter being served during breakfast as well. Usually, daal (lentil soup) and bhaat (rice) are served with tarkari (a curry with gravy or dry).

Tarkari is a side dish, usually vegetarian fare, complements the mild lentil soup. But in some cases, meat or fish might be added to the menu as well. Also other condiments like pickled vegetables, sauces made from grounding herbs, papads, yogurt, sweets, and so on might also be served, according to the requirements.

Dal Bhaat and Nepalese Community

Usually, the national food of Nepal is served in every Nepalese household and each individual has its style for preparing the dish. Usually, the dish served with various condiments like crackers or papads, pickles, seasonal vegetables, yogurt, chutneys and so on. Usually, these dishes have a high nutritional value making them perfect for vacationers on a special diet. 


This entire platter is a Nepalese staple and has come closely associated with their emotions. Dal Bhaat is relatively simple to make an ideal meal for people embarking on trekking. You can add your twist to this traditional Nepalese dish, and create something new as this national food of Nepal is always open to experimentation. 


Cooking Daal, Bhaat, and Tarkari 

Suitable for: Non-vegetarians, vegetarians, and vegans 
Difficulty levels: Moderate 

Ingredients: Rice, lentils, vegetables, Indian spices, salt, and little oil  

Nepalese Daal, Bhaat, and Tarkari are very easy to cook and require a little preparation time. Since in the mountains, a pressure cooker is a preferred medium of cooking – most Nepalese households have a Pressure Cooker in their arsenal – the cooking time could be cut down drastically. However, fret not if you do not own a fast cooker, you can prepare this national food of Nepal very easily with your basic kitchen utensils.

To make the rice, presoak it for fifteen minutes, and boil the soaked rice in a deep pan till cooked. For lentils, again presoaking is required (Nepalese usually use yellow lentils but you can use any variety). Pre-soak the lentils for an hour or little bit more, and bring it to boil in a deep pan. While boiling the lentils, remember to add a little bit of turmeric and salt to the mix. After the lentils have boiled, add the seasoning made from Indian spices like cumin seeds and fenugreek, and onions fried in oil into the pan. Walla, daal is ready. Lastly, for tarkari, you will require some cur vegetables - carrots, peas, peppers, potatoes, etc. Sauté then in light oil with spices and let them cook for some time. 


FYI: Every Nepalese family has a unique way of making the Daal, Bhaat, and Tarkari, so do not expect it to taste the same during your trip to Nepal.


How to Eat Daal, Bhaat, and Tarkari?

In a traditional Nepali home, Daal, Bhaat and Tarkari are usually eaten with hands. However, you can always use cutlery to savor this Nepalese delicacy. During plating, rice is served on a large (and sometimes heavy) metal plate along with the curried vegetables on the side. In a separate bowl, lentil soup is served.

This is simply the traditional plating. However, nothing is fixed on stone. The number of dishes might increase depending upon the occasion and requirement and could include fish or chicken (masu), pickles (achar), Indian flatbread bread (Roti), yogurt (dahi), fried fritters (pakora).

To eat the dish, first, break the mound of rice (preferably with your hand) and pour the daal into it. Next, add tarkari to the mix. Eat and savor the flavors of the national food of Nepal. 


P.S: While eating from a small hole in the wall establishments, the vendor would serve your extra helping of rice and daal – enjoy it.   


Nepali cuisine, and national food of Nepal, is a delicious affair. The simple platter with intense flavors but less spices, these dishes are healthy and are filling. 

Futher Reading:

10 Nepal Famous Food You Can Discover

5 Traditional Nepali Dishes You Can Try For Any Occasion

6 Best Nepalese Cuisine You Cannot Forget

7 Mouth-Watering Nepali Snacks