10 taste-bud-tantalising treats for Kathmandu’s meat lovers this Dashain

Popular Newa food items
Popular Newa food items

Dashain is our biggest festival for a lot of reasons. While growing up, Dashain meant two things; spending time with the family and enjoying good food, especially for meat lovers. And as time passes on, things certainly have not changed much. Dashain also implies that you get a holiday for nearly seven days. It is the time of the year when everyone comes together and has a joyous time with their loved ones.

We normally spend Dashain playing cards, drinking and more importantly feasting on meat items old and new. Unlike any other festival, you do not have to fast on Dashain. This 15-day festival is the time when eating is one thing that you normally do.

Here is a list of food items that you should try this Dashain, after all, it is all about eating different types of food and having fun.

1. Chhoila

meat lovers chhoila in kathmandu newari kitchen

Chhoila is one of the most popular dishes for meat lovers in Nepal. It is a famous dish and is the desired appetiser served together with chiura (beaten rice). Although it is traditionally made with buffalo meat, it can be made using any other type of meat. There are two types of Chhoila, Mana Chhoila and Haku Chhoila, mana meaning ‘boiled’ and haku meaning ‘black’ referred to the meat cooked over fire.

Where: Newari Kitchen

2. Sekuwa

Sekuwa is another sought-after dish during the festive period. Sekuwa is the Nepali way of cooking a barbecue. Sekuwa could be of pork, lamb, goat or chicken, or a mixture of all, a true meat lovers’ dish. Sekuwa is very popular in Nepal, especially in eastern Nepal and Kathmandu. There are many hotels and restaurants that serve this cuisine while there are others which specialise in one.

Where: Roots Eatery

3. Chicken Curry

Who does not love a classic chicken curry?  There is nothing more that we Nepalis or meat lovers love than the classic masu bhat. Chicken curry is very simple to make and it looks great and to some extent is healthier too. You will have no problem finding chicken curry on Dashain as it is a dish that will be cooked everywhere.

Where: Roots Eatery

4. Sukuti

meat lovers sukuti

Sukuti is dried meat, often marinated with spices over fire and charcoal or in the sun, sometimes over a fireplace. Sandheko is the term to describe a mixture of spices, most often with ginger, garlic, red onions, cumin, coriander, and chillies. It is usually served as an appetiser or snack added into noodle dishes like chowmein. Sometimes, raw shelled green peas or peanuts are mixed in for a nice crunch.

Where: Roots Eatery

5. Duck Choila

While there is a tradition of eating buff chhoila in Kathmandu, duck chhoila (Hans ko Choila) is more popular and authentic to the towns that surround the valley. Although the meat is a bit chewy, the dish has a nice smoky flavour from the wood-fire barbecued meat, aroma and nutty flavour from the roasted mustard oil, and complex spicy flavours from the whole lots of different spices used. If you haven’t tried it yet maybe it’s high time you did. A great dish for meat lovers.

Where: Sa: Sa:

6. Nhyapu Tisyu (Buff brains and bone marrow)

Many might not have tried this dish here in Nepal as not a lot of places serve this. Not every day do you get to taste buff brains and bone marrow, but I’m sure most meat lovers will love it. The dish has a unique creamy taste and it melts in your mouth.

Where: Sa: Sa:

7. Jhuku Blood sausage)

Another dish that is not available everywhere but is rich in flavour. The boiled, diced and fried intestine with white blood cells is not a dish for everyone, but for those who love to experiment with food, jhuku is another dish you must try this Dashain.

Where: Sa: Sa:

8. Mutton Curry

mutton curry meat lovers

Among the many sacrifices made during Dashain, the goat is one of the most common sacrifices and is often considered a luxury for many in Nepal. A highly anticipated delicacy for those celebrating Dashain, mutton curry is the simplest form of such classic Dashain food. Usually devoured on the eighth day of Dashain known as Ashtami, mutton curry is a staple among most Nepali families. The dish, a classic for meat lovers, combines fenugreek seeds and fresh bay leaves with other Nepali spices to leave you wanting more.

Where: Village Cafe

 9. Mutton Sekuwa

Mutton Sekuwa is a grilled goat meat delicacy that flavours itself with hints of chilli, lime and Sichuan pepper. The tender boneless meat cuts are cooked on charcoal that leaves a smoky taste, adding a bit of crisp to your bite. Traditional to its core, Mutton Sekuwa is a great accompaniment to local Dashain drinks and is best consumed while playing cards.

Where: Village Cafe

10. Mutton Kawaf

Combining two different cuisines of South Asia, Mutton Kawaf or Kebab is often gobbled down as an appetiser for the long-awaited Dashain feast. The delicacy, a meat lovers’ favourite, is an Indian twist on a local favourite; the meaty delight is sure to appease your taste buds with its use of mild paprika, a ginger-garlic marinade and turmeric. Exclusively served at the Village Café, Mutton kawaf is a must-eat for this month.

Where: Village Cafe

From the archive.

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Pant is an independent journalist based in Kathmandu. He covers issues ranging from tech, music, mountains, biodiversity and environment.

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