Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Buckwheat Bread - Phaapar ko Roti (फापरको रोटी)

Buckwheat Bread - Phaapar ko Roti (फापरको रोटी)

The secret of amazing buckwheat bread  - a simply delicious traditional bread, much loved by many Nepalese in different parts of Nepal! 
I want to wish my blog readers a "Happy World Vegetarian Day" 2015! The vegetable awareness month is observed annually on October 1 and ends in the beginning of November (30 days).

According to official website:
"World Vegetarian Day was established as an annual celebration to promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism. The day was originated by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977 and endorsed by the International Vegetarian Union in 1978". 

Dear friends, family, neighbors and colleagues - please gather around my table and let's observe the "World Vegetarian Day" by cooking a simple and tasty phaapar ko roti  made out of buckwheat flour and accompanied dishes are fresh vegetables, yogurt and pickles.

 Phaapar ko roti - (pronounced - PAH-par-koh ROH-tee) - (फापरको रोटी) is a delicious light-gray colored bread prepared from buckwheat flour. It is prepared with a very simple technique. The flour is made into a smooth batter, spiced, and griddle cooked until light golden brown. The bread is delicious by itself, or with Nepali seasoned salt, which is chili-salt-timmur (Nepali szechwan pepper) powder, or can be served accompanied with a combinations of vegetables, yogurt, and buttermilk.
Buckwheat  is called - Phaapar (फापर)  in Nepali.  It is a very important food crop in Nepal and commonly grown in the higher mountainous regions and to some extent in Middle Hills, Inner Terai and Sub-Terai areas.  Buckwheat is also grown in regions where rice cultivation is impossible due to high altitudes. In the most remote mountain regions of Nepal such as Humla, Manang, Mustang, Jumla, Dolpa, and Baitadi, local people have been using buckwheat as a traditional staple diet for centuries.  Buckwheat is also widely grown in the mid-hill area such as Lamjung, Gorkha, Myagdi and Parbat.  In my blog, most of the pictures of the fields of buckwheat, flowers and seeds were captured when I visited the Chitwan National Park area (Terai) of Nepal.

Although the name buckwheat sounds like a wheat crop, it is not related to wheat; instead, it is related to rhubarb and sorrel.  According to Nepal Agriculture Research, the buckwheat is an annual herbaceous plant, fast growing and is ready to harvest within 90-100 days of seeding. The plant bears bright green heart shaped leaves, hollow stems with beautiful pink and white flowers, when pollinated it produces seeds. The seeds are triangular in shape with rounded bottom and upon maturity, changes from green color to red-brown seeds.  The outer husks are removed and ground into flour.  Generally, the buckwheat grain produced in the mountain are larger than those produced in the Terai area.  Buckwheat crops are not susceptible to disease or damaged by insects.

There are two types of buckwheat cultivated in the hills and mountains of Nepal

Common buckwheat - Botanical name:Fagopyrum esculentum
Nepali name  - Mithe Phaapar (मिठे फापर)
The flour from common buckwheat is used preparing bread (pancake-like phaapar ko roti), buckwheat dhindo (Nepali style polenta), puwaa, phulaura (buckwheat fritters), buckwheat finger chips,  unleavened flat-bread made from buckwheat flour dough,
thick bread (pancake-style pahadi bread), beverages and drinks, medicinal food, dried leaves of the plants used as soup.  The young green buckwheat leaves Phaapar ko Saag - (फापर को साग) are also cooked as green vegetables.

Tatary buckwheat - Botanical name: Fagopyrum tataricum Geartn
Nepali name - Tite Phapar (तीते फापर)
These crops are capable of growing under very cold climate condition in the higher hills. Although seeds are bitter in taste, they can serve as food for people living in the hills during scarcity days.  It is believed that the leaf and flower play a role in treating intestinal problems, hemorrhages and high blood pressure.

Below, I have uploaded the pictures of buckwheat farm, flowers, harvesting, recipes and other use of buckwheat flour for everyone to enjoy!

Taste of Nepal Cookbook - recipe of Phaapar ko Roti (Buckwheat Bread) - Page 114
Long blooming buckwheat flowers - bees are busy collecting nectar and you will be enjoying strong flavored, dark-brown colored buckwheat honey
A show stopper - flowering of mustard and buckwheat plant in a field at a small village near Chitwan National Park
Clusters of pink buckwheat flowers in bloom
Cutting buckwheat stalks and drying further in the stand up position
Buckwheat Harvest - some of the spectacular view of village life
A smiling young woman harvesting the buckwheat by traditional way  - cutting, thrashing and gathering the seeds
Freshly picked un-hulled, gluten-free buckwheat seeds 
Another image of Buckwheat seeds - triangular in shape with rounded bottom, tough seeds, changes from green to red-brown color when ready to harvest.
Phaapar ko Pitho (फापर को पिठो) - buckwheat flours are generally grayish-tan colored due to presence of hull fragments that was not completely removed during grounding process.
Getting ready to make phaapar ko roti - whisking together all the ingredients until there is no lump, making sure it is semi-thick consistency and should spread evenly when poured on the griddle.
Ladle the batter into pan into the desired size and reduce the heat to medium.
Watch for bubbles on the surface of the bread, then gently flip the phaapar ko roti  
 Cooking the other side - add butter and continue cooking until golden brown.
The phaapar ko roti is ready to be served  along with other savory vegetable dishes - from left, homemade yogurt (एक राते दही), taro vegetables - karkalo-gaava-pidhaalu  (कर्कलो-गाभा-पिँडालु),
sauteed Asian eggplant (नेपाली भन्टा तरकारी), green beans and potatoes (सिमि र आलु तरकारी), tomato-red onion-chili-cucumber salad, spiced mustard greens (सीतले खाएको रायोको साग).  Front small white bowls - pickled cucumber - khalpi achaar (खल्पी अचार) and tomato chutney (गोलभेडा अचार
Deep-fried Buckwheat finger-chips - (kachhyamba or cunchhemba) - A very popular snack dish or side-dish, generally served hot as an appetizer with beverages, or served a part of side dish.  The finger-chips are made from locally grown buckwheat flour, deep-fried until crispy and crunchy outside, soft and delicious inside.  They are usually served with fiery tomato-timbur sauce  
Savoring the authentic and family style "phaapar ko roti" presented at the Tamu Losar festival (celebration of New Year) in Kathmandu.  Healthy and delicious, hungry for more?

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