Can You Tell the Key Difference in Nepalese Food VS Indian Food?

Nepali food is predominantly a combination of locally sourced ingredients, exotic flavors and varied cooking styles brought in from India, Tibet, and China. The Nepali cuisine is closest to Indian cuisine due to similar cooking styles and availability of common ingredients. However, cuisines from Nepal have a completely different identity, making it unique in its own right.

When talking about Nepalese food VS Indian food, you have to understand that both the countries generously use spices, has rice as their staple food, and flatbreads are also included in the meals. However, in Nepali cooking cream or sugar is mostly avoided, making Nepali cuisines healthier than the Indian counterparts.

Traditional Nepali Food and How It Is Different from Indian Cuisine?

Nepali cuisine is might find its origin from Asiatic cuisines, but with time these dishes have evolved and established its own identity. Just like Indian cuisines, spices and herbs are generously used in Nepali cuisines. Also, just like several other Asian countries, Nepali’s prefer rice – it is their staple. The Nepali version of pulao – a popular rice dish of the Indian subcontinent – is served with yogurt and pappadums.

Potatoes, tomatoes, and lentils are common ingredients of a Nepali platter, similar to Indian Thali or platter. However, the Nepali’s prefer chutneys or dipping sauces that work as an accompaniment for the main course.

While discussing the Nepalese food VS Indian food, you have to remember that the Thupka and Dhido are two dishes that do not have an Indian alternative. Thupka is a beautiful delicacy, similar to noodle soup, best eaten hot. Gluten-free buckwheat flour is used to make Dhido, another specialty of Nepal found in the mountainous region.

These dishes have a unique taste, and making the Nepali food a pleasurable experience – for both body and mind.

Nepalese Food VS Indian Food - Some Interesting Points

1. In the Nepali cooking technique, vegetables are not pureed or mashed while cooking. Instead, they chop vegetables and then add them to a wok for stir-frying. Spices and Herbs are added to simply enhance the flavors and taste. Usually, Nepali vegetable dishes have a certain crunchy texture.   

2. Nepali’s refrain from using cream or milk-based products in their cooking. The exception to this rule is ghee or clarified butter. Here gravy, a thinner sauce, served with the dish is more popular. Probably that is the reason why Nepali cooking is considered a healthier option in comparison to its other Asian counterparts.

3. While talking about Nepalese food VS Indian food, Dal-Bhaat-Tarkari is the staple food of almost the entire Nepali terrain. Unlike the Indian eating styles, in Nepal people are not much fond of flatbreads like Indian naan or roti. In most humble homestays or luxurious resorts, this Nepali staple is omnipresent.

4. In the Nepalese foods, unlike Thai or Chinese cuisines usage of sugar during cooking is negligible. Sugar is only added for desserts.

5. Baking is almost non-existent in a Nepali household. However, the local bakery often served as a provider for bread, puddings, and pastries for the locality. Usually, the home-cooked desserts are either fried, or steamed.        

After discussing some interesting facts about Nepalese food VS Indian food, here is the list of some popular Nepali dishes that are popular in India and nearby countries, and do not have an Indian counterpart:

1. Sel roti    

Served as: snack/breakfast item

Goes well with Tea

While talking about Nepalese food VS Indian food, you have to include Sel Roti into the list. Also referred to as the Nepali donut due to its round shape and deep-fried texture, sel rotis are in reality less sweet than the donuts. Easily available in the road-side stalls and shacks of Kathmandu, these delicacies are made in a Nepali household during important festivals like Tihar or Maghe Sankranti.


2. Chatamari

Served as: snack / main course

Goes well with Tea

Another popular Nepali delicacy is Chatamari, a crepe-like dish topped with ground meat and seasonal vegetables. This popular Newari dish is often regarded as the ‘Nepali pizza’. However, such nomenclature is only due to Chatamari’s round shape and topping rich covering. Usually made from the rice flour, the raw batter is poured in a special wok and cooked till golden brown. After the crepe is ready, toppings including seasonal vegetables, eggs, minced meat, and a variety of spices are added and served.


3. Momos

Served as: snack

Goes well with Soup or Thupka

Although they came to Nepal through Tibet, momos have taken a Nepali outlook in life. One of the most popular Nepali dishes, it has a fan following not only in Nepal but also in Indian terrains. Rice flour dough is thinly rolled into wrappers and then stuffed with minced meat, finely chopped vegetables, and other assorted ingredients. The freshly made wrappers are then steamed or fried. These small dumplings are served with hot soup and spicy dipping sauces. These delicacies are hand-made and fresh to order, so a plate of momo might just take a bit longer time than usual to arrive.


4. Gundruk

Served as: condiment

Goes well with Dhido

Served as a condiment of Dhido (buckwheat flour dish) is next in the list of Nepalese food VS Indian food. Its popularity is so huge that many consider Gundruk as the national dish of Nepal. It is fermented leafy vegetables, stored in an earthen pot along with radish, mustard, and cauliflower. The vegetable mix is left until the vegetables release their juices, and have fermented completely.


5. Samay Baji

Served as: Main course

Goes well with Plain yogurt, lassi, or Ayla (a fermented drink)

A popular dish hailing from the Newari community of Kathmandu, the dish has slowly become a popular attraction among international travelers. In simpler terms, the Samay Baji is an elaborate platter that contains several dry and wet dishes including Chhwela (spiced barbequed buffalo meat), Bodi ko Achar (spiced boiled beans), Saag (stir-fried leafy vegetables). These dishes are served with Chiura (beaten rice), which adds a definite texture to the dish.

The Nepalese food VS Indian food debate always baffles food lovers. How such a small country like Nepal has a huge smorgasbord of dishes, which can compete with a huge nation like India?
You have to come here, to believe it. So, pack your bags, book your tickets, and come to Nepal for an interesting holiday.    

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