Saturday, December 12, 2015

Greetings to all!

Namaskar and Greetings to all! 

नमस्कार - सु:ख, शान्ती र सम्ब्रिद्धिको लागि हार्दिक शुभकामना!

Now that Christmas and New Year is almost here, it's a wonderful time of the year when everyone is in a festive mood. I would like to wish the "Taste of Nepal" blog readers Health & Happiness this Holiday Season and throughout the New Year!

The Taste of Nepal blog was born in September 2011 and has been around for four years. I had no idea it would become an important part of my life.  I have now 108 blog postings published with pictures.  Visitors from 212 different countries have visited this site, and we've had 676,338 total page views all time history so far.  All the writing and photography in my blog is my original work and the idea behind this blog is to highlight Nepal's unique cultural heritage, cuisines, regional foods, ingredients, recipes, festivals, lifestyles and many more. I have truly enjoyed sharing with you all my postings.  I promise that there will be many more blog entries throughout next year about different aspects of Nepali cuisine.  I know I am embarking on a long journey and my blog readers really keep me motivated.  I would like to thank you for your support, feedback, taking time to read my blogs, commenting and sharing my posts.

I will really appreciate if you let me know what you liked about my postings, what I missed and what you are looking forward in my blog of 2016.  I am always looking for more inspiration.

What is the most visited blog posting of 2015?

List of most common fruits of Nepal 

List of most common vegetables of Nepal
Momos - म:म: or मोमो (Dumplings)
The Traditional Sweets of Nepal (Part 1-4)
Sel-Roti - Fried Rice Bread
Absolutely love my Daal-Bhaat-Tarkaari!
Juju Dhau - The King Yogurt from Bhaktapur, Nepal

Which country visited the Taste of Nepal blog the most?
Please read my Flag Counter to get the details - The most visited are from the USA (104,878), Nepal (57,657), India (44,395), Australia (22,938), UK 22,692

Published Comments - 530
Can we use your photo and write-ups of this blog?
Yes, I would be honored if you use my work.  Please refer to my "copyright information" posted in the blog.

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.


As this year come to an end, I would like to share my recent interview with Samridhi Goyal, "Kathmandu Foodies" about "putting Nepali Food on the Map - Jyoti Pathak".
Recent Interviews and Press

Nepal as a country is immensely rich in its varied traditions and cultural norms. From breathtaking dances to soulful songs and little celebrations that make us such a varied society where colors of happiness abound. The common thread that runs through it all is the heartwarming food of the nation. From chowela to daal bhaat power we love eating and rightly so. For each Nepali a copy of The Taste of Nepal is a must have on their shelves. Kathmandu Foodies talked to Jyoti Pathak food writer and author of the aforementioned book to see what drives her forth.

Kathmandu Foodies: How did your fascination with food begin? What started you of this journey?

Jyoti Pathak: I have been fascinated with food and interested in cooking since my early childhood. My earliest memories are of my grandparents’ house in Kathmandu. I remember playing and spending time in the kitchen which was in the uppermost section of the house., watching and observing our family cook, sitting on a wooden platform (pirka) in front of a wood fired stove and preparing delicious Nepali meals. Although I wanted to go and help stir the bubbling pot on the stove she never let me help or interfere with her chores. Maybe because a wood fired stove is not the safest thing for a child and produces too much smoke. I learnt the basics of Nepali cooking techniques and it was just the start of wanting to learn more.

Although I did not cook much as a young girl my real culinary interests began when I arrived in America. At that time I had very little hands on experience. I came here as a newlywed beginning a new life in a new world to join my husband who had a nostalgic longing for the Nepali food he had eaten all his life. I started to spend a lot of time trying out recipes from my own research, from my childhood memories, from visitors and friends.
Kathmandu Foodies:How do you compare the food culture of America to that of Nepal?

Jyoti Pathak: Like most regional cuisines, the winds of globalization are leading to an interesting fusion of cooking ideas. These days in Kathmandu, KFC chicken, pizza and north Indian dishes are immensely popular. When I started the Taste of Nepal project, I was hoping to provide a record of some of Nepal’s rich culinary heritage. I hope we continue to be proud of our own foods and continue to prepare them in our family gatherings, parties and other important events.

Visitors who have had the opportunity to spend time in Nepal have come to understand the virtues and diversity of Nepali food. Many tell me they appreciate the freshness and healthy aspects of our food. I’ve heard many stories of families moving out of Nepal still cooking and serving Nepali food to their families years after they have left. I often receive queries on my blog about the traditional way of cooking. As the size of the Nepali diaspora expands, we are starting to see Nepali or Himalayan restaurants in most large cities.

Kathmandu Foodies: How and why did you get into blogging?

Jyoti Pathak: My book Taste of Nepal and my blog is my attempt to introduce Nepal’s unique culture, culinary heritage, regional foods and festivals. Both my cookbook and blog reflects the tradition of my home country and cultural upbringing. If I am able to introduce Nepali culinary traditions, even on a small scale that would be great.

Kathmandu Foodies: What do you think about the food culture in Nepal?

Jyoti Pathak: Nepali food has the characteristics of being simple, light and healthy. A typical Nepali meal has the freshest ingredients, minimum cooking fat and an artful combination of fresh herbs and spices without being overpowering. I think this balanced, delicious cuisine is just waiting for discovery in the world!

Kathmandu Foodies: The west has a huge presence of food in its TV programming with huge food shows, food channels and such. Do you think it should be emulated in Nepal too?

Jyoti Pathak: Of course cooking is an art and TV food shows would help one to appreciate their own cuisine more.
Kathmandu Foodies: Do you think the Indian food influence is a problem for Nepali food?

Jyoti Pathak: No-not at all, Nepali food is often fused or associated with North Indian food or Tibetan combination of both, but it has its own distinctive flavors and textures. In the southern Terai regions of Nepal, the food has more of the neighboring influence. Food tends to have more North Indian flavor in terms of spicing. Commonly used spices in both cuisines are cumin, coriander, black pepper, turmeric, red and green chilies, garlic, fresh ginger and onions. Most authentic spices such as Jimbu (Himalayan herb) and Timbur (schezwan pepper) are not seen in Indian cooking. In Kathmandu the spicing is milder and subtler. Dhindo, Gundruk, lentil stews, sun dried vegetables, bamboo shoots, sukuti (dried meat) are more common in hilly areas. Tibetan influence brings momo, the stuffed dumpling, fermented bamboo shoots and such. I would say Nepali food is neither Indian nor Tibetan but a confluence of the two with a unique Nepali flavor.

I have also noticed that in many feasts and celebrations Nepali food is being replaced by savory North Indian dishes. This may eventually lead to disappearance of Nepali culinary heritage. However, the fusion of different cuisines is a worldwide phenomenon and will expand more in this modern digital age.

Kathmandu Foodies: What are your favorite dishes?

Jyoti Pathak: I love fresh vegetables, simply boiled rice and various daal dishes. I simply love daal-bhaat, tarkaari achaar combination.
Kathmandu Foodies: What exciting stuff can we look forward to in terms of Nepali food from you in the future?

Jyoti Pathak:What’s next on my literary plate? Hmm. I would like to explore more in the regional and ethnic cooking in Nepal. I am eager to start research on these topics soon.

Dhanyabad (धन्यवाद) - Thank you!

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