Saturday, December 3, 2011

Himalayan Herb Jimbu - dried leaves of a local onion species - (जिम्बु)

Himalayan Herb Jimbu - (Bot. name - Allium Hypsistum Stearn) - dried leaves of a local onion species  - (जिम्बु)

Also known as Himalayan aromatic leaf garlic, jimbu is a dried aromatic herb that is virtually unknown outside the Himalayan region.  The herb looks like dry brownish-green grass and has a distinct flavor somewhat similar to garlic and shallots.  It is found wild throughout many regions of Nepal.  The leaves and tender stems are carefully picked and dried, which weakens the flavor, but this is reversed by browning in hot oil until fully fragrant.  Nepalese have a remarkable fondness for this herb and they use it as a tempering spice to flavor daals, vegetables, salads, and pickles.  For more information, please check Wikipedia

The following information is from - An Introduction to Nepalese Food Plants by Puskal P. Regmi (1982)

Com name: Nepal Aromatic Leaf Garlic

Bot. name - Allium hypsistum Stearn
Family: Amarylliddaceae
Cormatic perennial herb. It grows completely wild in sub-alpine and alpine regions of Nepal. The dried and processed leaves and tender
foliage provide excellent seasoning spice with desirable aroma used in pulse soup, vegetable curry, fresh or preserved achaar (pickles) and so on. It has got medicinal properties as well. Use of jimbu in Tarai regions of Nepal are not yet common.



  Source - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Allium hypsistum, commonly known as Jimbu, is an herb that is used extensively in some regions of Nepal. The herb, which has a taste in between onion and chives, is most commonly used dried. In Mustang it is use to flavor vegetables, pickles, meat. In the rest of Nepal it is most commonly used to flavor urad dal or lentils. The dried leaves are fried in ghee to develop their flavor.

Nepali spice market - display of commonly used spices -  cumin, coriander, fenugreek seeds, black pepper, pink Himalayan salt, packaged spices, turmeric, red and green chilies, garlic and fresh ginger, and onions.


Picture of two most authentic Nepali spices - L Himalayan herb Jimbu and R. Szechwan pepper, Sichuan pepper, Chinese pepper, Nepal pepper (Z. armatum)
टिम्मुर, तिम्बुर - (Timur, Timmur, Timbur)


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12 comments:

  1. Thank you for the fantastic info! Just back from a lovely holiday in Nepal and I managed to smuggle some Jimbu back with me. Our hotel -- Dwarika's -- had several copies of your cookbook, one of which I naturally bought, and I have been reading avidly over the past few days. Magical. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you so much. Your kind words means a lot to me. Comments like yours make all this worthwhile and encourages people who wants to do similar things...Dhanyabad!

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  2. You're welcome!

    My next step will be attempting to find some of your beautiful spices and herbs in Dubai, where I live. I am hopeful I may have some success [perhaps in our renowned spice souk] because we have so many Nepali people living and working here.

    Wish me luck! I am already planning a dinner to share what I am learning with all our friends.

    Keep up the fantastic work sharing this wonderful culture and food with others. You well deserve the Gourmand World Cookbook award. :-)

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  3. buy best quality saffron at your door step. kesar is good for health and this best for pregnant women for his child. kesar is Indian name of saffron.

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    1. To emavens solutions - Thank you for visiting the Taste of Nepal blog and taking time to comment. It is a site dedicated to the exploration of flavors, cuisine, culture, and festivals of Nepal. Taste of Nepal blog have no interest in advertising and other promotional materials. I would appreciate if you could keep your comments relevant to the culinary and culture heritage of Nepal.

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  4. Hi Jyothi, I bought your book 2 years back but I never got the time to read through it! But now that I am happily engaged, I am really overjoyed at finding this whole wealth of information about ingredients from Nepal! I am falling more and more in love with my once distant homeland. Thank you and please keep up the good work!!! Daami cha!!

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    1. Thank you Susila Rai - appreciate you stopping by! I hope my book can offer some extra good tips and suggestions when you are cooking Nepali food...

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  5. My mother is interested in growing Jimbu. Where can she purchase seeds?
    Thanks

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    1. I am sorry I will not be able to help your mother regarding finding jimbu seeds....if you do find it, make sure to let me know how it goes!

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  6. Love your book...having a nepali party with part of our trekking team back here in New Zealand this Friday and was wondering if you could substitute Jimbu with anything? Maybe Garlic chives? Thank you, love the Nepali food Anne

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    1. Hi Anne - Namaskar!

      Thank you for stopping by the blog and commenting. I'm always thrilled to hear from people.

      For your question, I wasn't sure if you were talking about using fresh garlic chives or dried ones? Fresh garlic chives will have a stronger flavor, and will most likely change the flavor of your original recipe. In Nepal, the dried form of jimbu is first browned in hot oil until it is fully fragrant before it is used. I'd suggest using only a small amount of chives in your recipe, or just omitting it altogether. Unfortunately, jimbu doesn't have many close substitutes...

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  7. please google Status, Use and Management of Jimbu (Allium spp.):
    A Case Study from Upper Mustang, Nepal, a thesis on jimbu. Chive is one of the species of jimbu. we are growing and using it in Kathmandu.

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