Friday, May 4, 2012

Fiddlehead Fern - Neuro, Niuro (नीयूरो)

Fiddlehead Fern - Neuro or Niuro (नीयूरो)


Fiddlehead ferns are the young shoots of edible ferns.  They resemble the spiral end of a fiddle, for which they are named, and they taste somewhat similar to asparagus-okra-spinach, but their texture is slightly crunchy.  They are extremely perishable and need to be cooked within a day or two after picking. In Nepal, they are collected in the spring time from the woods, shady swamps, riverbanks, and damp fields.  They can also be purchased from the local markets.  In my last visit to Kathmandu, I was so exited to see neuro for sale in the market, neatly arranged in a bundle.

The young shoots emerge from the ground around mid-April and will last only for a couple of days.  Nepalese call this unique vegetable "neuro" which literally translates to "bent" or "curled" (neehureko, jhukeko). 
Just getting ready to be picked up - they start to look like the neck of a violin. The shoots are in their coiled form for only a couple of days and they need to be picked before they open to beautiful lacy leaves, which cannot be cooked as they become stringy and bitter. Fiddleheads are covered with fuzz or paper-like covering and need to be cleaned before cooking.   
 Remove the fuzzy coating of the fiddleheads by rubbing them between your hands.  Trim and discard the tough ends and cut the fiddleheads into 1-inch pieces.
Getting ready to cook, "Neuro ko Tarkaari" the tender, bright green, and the young greens.  There is a nice recipe of "Wild Ferns with Garlic Butter" under "What Should You Cook When the Guest of Honor is President Obama?"  Please click here..
There are many ways to prepare fiddleheads. (See sample recipes below.) To preserve their beautiful green color, you may blanch the fiddleheads in salted water and then immediately rinse in cold water.  You can then pan-saute with butter and spices.
Pan-sauteeing (recipe follows)

Neuro ko Tarkaari - Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns - page 150
I am posting two recipes from the book, The Taste of Nepal - Neuro ko Tarkaari (Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns - page 150) and Saandheko Neuro (Fiddlehead Fern Salad - page 151).



 Pan-sauteed vegetable in a serving dish.  Try these vegetables whenever available  - just can't eat one - you will keep coming for more....



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6 comments:

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    1. and...they are one of my favorite spring vegetables...

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  2. Fiddleheads are delicious! I didn't know people in Nepal also ate them until I saw the recipe in your cookbook! At first I thought they were only eaten in New England :)

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    1. When I was growing up in Kathmandu, Fiddleheads were collected and brought to my family from the wild..but last year, I saw several neat bundles of fiddleheads for sale at the Asan market area. Have you ever tried them?

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    2. Yep. The first time I tried them was at a friend's house in Maine. Someone our friend knew had gathered them and she was (ironically) serving them especially for my husband's family as a "uniquely American treat." They didn't mention fiddleheads were also eaten in Nepal. After being introduced I bought them several times, but was really surprised to see fiddleheads in your cookbook. I have to admit I haven't tried the curry recipe yet, because I like sauteing them with butter, garlic, salt and pepper. I'm worried the curry might mask too much of the fiddlehead flavor, but one of these days I'll have to try it!

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  3. its almost fiddlehead season but i have never seen it in Dallas. Where did you find it here in US?

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