Monday, February 26, 2018

Jimbu – Nepalese Allium (Herb)

Jimbu  जिम्बु  – Nepalese Allium or Himalayan Aromatic Herb


 
Jimbu, pronounced (jim-bu), is a dried, aromatic, perennial herb that is virtually unknown outside the Himalayan region. It's common name is “Nepal aromatic leaf garlic.” It is also known as jamboo/faran in Uttarakhand, India and jhiku-cha in Newari language. In scientific journals, jimbu is called Allium Hypsistum Stearn and comes from the family Amaryllidaceae. 


While researching jimbu, I found a well-written article by David Borish which describes more on this perennial herb.  He writes, "Jimbu is one product that is native to the North Central mountainous region of Nepal, and is of high value to Upper Mustang Nepalese (Nepal 2006). Jimbu refers to two species of Allium, A.hypsistum and A. prezewalskianum (Nepal 2006).  Both species are perennial and bulbous flowering plants part of the Amaryllidaceous family (IUCN Nepal, 2000)."

 
Harvesting of Jimbu - The local villagers and their family members travel several hours to the wild areas of the mountain regions in which jimbu has been growing in abundance for centuries.  The villagers carefully hand-pick the green and tender foliage from the jimbu plant.  Although they collect both flowering and non flowering parts of the plant, they believe the best flavors come from buds that are not fully opened. It is harvested between July to September.

After collection, the green jimbu is brought back to villages and spread on dry mats in a well-ventilated covered shady areas.  Jimbu harvesters believe that drying in direct sunlight makes poor quality jimbu without color and flavor. The herb is dried for several days until all the moisture has evaporated. This is the most traditional, simplest, and least expensive way of preserving the herb in the remote areas. 

Picture of two of the most authentic Nepali spices – L. Jimbu herb and R. Szechwan pepper, Sichuan pepper, Chinese pepper, Nepal pepper (Z. armatum)
टिम्मुर, तिम्बुर - (Timur, Timmur, Timbur)
The flavor of the herb is weakened or nearly lost in the drying process.  Jimbu also loses its green color and starts to looks like a brownish-green dried grass.  By the time it hits Nepali markets, jimbu is commonly sold in dried strands. The herb has a distinct flavor which is somewhat similar to garlic and shallots. The distinct aroma of the herb is nearly lost in the drying process, but can be brought back to maximum flavor by browning it in hot oil until fully fragrant before using in a dish.   Generally, a small pinch of jimbu is sufficient to flavor a dish and should be used with discretion. It is mostly not used in its raw form.

Mr. Ram Chandra Nepal in his research paper (use and Management of Jimbu – a case study from Upper Mustang) writes, “Jimbu collection is a very difficult job. People have to walk far away from the village (in an average 4.4 hours from the village) in dry, sloppy and difficult areas where water is scarce. Sometimes people needed over night camping on the sites. Further, people complained about headache when they were engaged in collecting jimbu for several hours.” 
Nepalese have a remarkable fondness for this herb and they use it as a tempering spice (jhanae masalaa) to flavor lentil dishes (daals), stir-fried vegetables, salads, and pickles. The aromatic herb also acts as flavoring agent for preserved pickles (achaars). Traditionally, jimbu is fried in clarified butter (gheu) or mustard oil (tori ko tel) to maximize its flavor and the infused oil is poured into a prepared dish before serving. The fried herb lends texture and visual appearance to any dish. In some recipes, Jimbu is added in the beginning stage of cooking process, whereas in some recipes, they are added at the end to the prepared dish. 
Freshly cooked black lentil (maas ko daal) tempered with jimbu
Tomato chutney tempered with jimbu
Fermented radish pickle tempered with jimbu



If jimbu has been stored for a long period of time, it becomes crisp and crumbly and starts to lose its flavor and get stale quickly. It is recommended to purchase only in small quantities at a time.


People from upper Mustang region use jimbu plants for medicinal purposes. It is used for stomach ailments, cough and cold, flu and high altitude sickness. Many villagers believe that jimbu has some medicinal value.

Jimbu is not often available outside Nepal (Indian grocery stores, Asian or Western markets). As a substitute, some people use the dried roots of the garlic bulb.  But this alternative will not produce the same flavor as jimbu. Recently, there are some imported jimbu available online and in some Nepali food markets outside Nepal.



Here are some useful links about Nepali Jimbu that you may want to check it out:

Ram Chandra Nepal - Use and management of Jimbu (A case study from Upper Mustang) - ( http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.583.5656&rep=rep1&type=pdf )


Copyright Information

All information on the Taste of Nepal blog are restricted use under copyright law. You may not re-use words, stories, photographs, or other posted material without the explicit written consent and proper credit to Jyoti Pathak. If you would like to use any materials here, please contact me.

13 comments:

  1. Useful Information, your blog is sharing unique information....
    Thanks for sharing!!!
    buy flavours online in nairobi
    online vegetable store in Nairobi

    ReplyDelete

  2. Awesome,
    Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome blog...
    buy flavours online in nairobi

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for posting the useful information to my vision. This is excellent information,.
    buy flavours online in nairobi

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for posting the useful information to my vision. This is excellent information,.
    buy flavours online in nairobi

    ReplyDelete
  5. hello nameste how to write blog for nepalese food plzs help me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Jyoti thanks for the wonderful blog. I married my Nepali husband 18 months ago, after meeting him 5 years ago while I was living in Kathmandu. I learn some Nepali cooking while in Nepal but not a lot (was spoiled by my host family who always cooked for me!). I have been using your blog to find recipes to cook for him, and every time I cook one of your recipes he tells me it's just like or better than his mother's cooking. We were also delighted to find Jimbu being sold at our local Indian grocer in Wellington New Zealand, after a request by another local Nepali family. Really does just give that final authentic flavour to maas ko daal.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Join Main Bareng Di PelangiQQ Situs Bandarq Terpercaya & Teraman Menyediakan 8 Game Terpopuler Di Dan Pastinya Dengan Persentase Kemenangan Lebih Besar Lagi Tunggu Apa Lagi Join Sekarang!
    contact PelangiQQ:
    BBM: E37271BF
    WA:+6281231804952
    LINE: PELANGIQQ
    Facebook : Rachel Gunawan

    Kunjungi Juga :
    Kesatria Blogger
    Berita Terkini
    Berita Terbaru
    Berita Terbaru Hari Ini
    Agen Poker Terpercaya
    Agen Situs Poker

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ayo Kakak Semuanya,
    Yuk seng bermain game untuk mendapatkan uang tambahan bulanan di MarioQQ.
    Modal Kecil Dapat Puluhan Juta :)
    Bareng aku dan teman-temanku yang cantik-cantik loh !
    Info Situs MarioQQ :
    BBM : DC91DE02
    WA : +855 965392962
    LINE : mari0qq
    Facebook : Lina Tan

    Kunjungi Juga :
    Artikel Menarik
    Artikel Unik dan Menarik
    Artikel Terlengkap
    Cerita Dewasa Terlengkap

    ReplyDelete
  9. Interesting information and attractive.This blog is really rocking... Yes, the post is very interesting and I really like it.I never seen articles like this. I meant it's so knowledgeable, informative, and good looking site. I appreciate your hard work. Good job.
    Kindly visit us @
    Sathya Online Shopping
    Buy AC Online
    Buy Split AC Online
    Buy LED TV Online
    Buy Laptop Online
    Buy HD LED TV
    Buy Ultra HD TV Online
    Buy HD Ready LED TV

    ReplyDelete
  10. I’m really impressed with your article, such great & usefull knowledge you mentioned here. Thank you for sharing such a good and useful information here in the blog

    Social Media Marketing Services in India
    Social Media Marketing Packages in India
    SEO Company in India
    Google Adwords Pricing in india
    Google Adwords Services in India

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nepal, better known as “God’s abode” is a marvelous destination which offers highest mountain Everest, tigers of southern Terai, plush natural panorama and lots more to the tourists. Trinetra Tours is an undoubted name in tour and travel industry which provides flawless tour and travel services globally. If you too wish to swing around the majesty, rituals and belle of best Nepal tour packages., Contact us on 9810261373 or write an email to tours@trinetratoursindia.com
    visit - https://www.trinetratours.com/global-destinations/nepal-tour

    ReplyDelete