Snacks, or “khaja” as it’s generally called in Nepal, are important for Nepalis. We converse over “khaja” and it usually tides us over till dinnertime. Cookies and noodles might be the staple snacks these days but we recommend you substitute these with some traditional Nepali snacks that are filling and delicious. The good thing is, though their origins differ, they can be found locally almost anywhere today. Here are five Nepali “khajas” that we can’t seem to get enough of.
Lakhamari is the sweet of the Newars. However, everyone here in Nepal – irrespective of whether they belong to the community or not – enjoys this sugary delight. The dough is made of black lentils, rice flour, sugar and butter/ghee, which is then deep-fried in oil and polished with sugar syrup. The end product is often elaborately shaped and is essentially a hardened churro. The sugar syrup that coats the lakhamari is neutralized by the subtleness of the deep-fried dough, thus making for a warm and pleasant snack. One can make it at home or buy a packet or two from the local “mithai” place.
Sukuti (jerky or dry meat) is a popular snack in Nepal. As it is easy to make and can be stored for a long time, sukuti is used to preserve leftover meat from festivals or other such occasions. Sukuti is often served as a side dish (alongside pickles) in the Nepali household. Fat is stripped off leftover meat and that is then flavored with different spices and is kept to dry in the sun. This dry meat can be stored for a long time and can be rehydrated and cooked into a delicious dish by adding water, onions, garlic, and other spices and condiments. Some forms of dry meat can be consumed without cooking as well. One can buy sukutis of buffalo, chicken, goat, and lamb around the Khichapokhari area in Kathmandu.
Bhakka, which is a simple rice flour steamed cake, is a traditional delicacy of the Tharus living in the eastern plains of Nepal, especially belonging to the Rajbansi community. Moreover, “Jhapali” bhakka has become very popular among Kathmandu residents as a healthy and tasty snack. It’s typically eaten for breakfast or as a snack with freshly prepared tomato pickle. Served on a “tapari”, bhakka is white and fluffy and tastes incredible with a mean tomato chutney.
The quality of the rice from which the bhakka is prepared as well as the smoothness of the rice flour is very important for the overall taste of the dish. If you happen to visit Biratnagar, Jhapa or other cities and towns in eastern plains of Nepal, you are likely to see street vendors selling bhakka early in the morning.everyone here in Nepal – irrespective of whether they belong to the community or not – enjoys this sugary delight.
The dough is made of black lentils, rice flour, sugar and butter/ghee, which is then deep-fried in oil and polished with sugar syrup. The end product is often elaborately shaped and is essentially a hardened churro. The sugar syrup that coats the lakhamari is neutralized by the subtleness of the deep-fried dough, thus making for a warm and pleasant snack. One can make it at home or buy a packet or two from the local “mithai” place.
Thekua is essentially traditional Nepali cookies. Thekua is often given as an offering during Chhath and is a popular dish especially in the Tarai region of Nepal. Thekua is made by deep frying a mixture of sugar syrup, ghee, and flour. Most thekuas have pretty looking patterns on them that are made with the help of a special dough shaper. Moreover, thekuas can be enjoyed with both sweet and savory dips (we recommend you try with cooked tomato pickle) as well as served over afternoon tea. Thekua is also called “khajur”, though typically thekua is bit softer than khajur. Thekua is easy to make at home and can be a quick snack that you can store for a long time, coming in handy when you are too tired to cook something for yourself.
Dhakani is a sweet rice dish. It’s similar to your average “kheer” only it’s a bit drier and fluffy. The combination of “dhakani and jeera aloo” is served as “teej darr” in many Nepali households. Usually, rice is cooked over medium heat for a long period with sugar, milk, cashews, cinnamon, cardamom, etc. to make it extremely soft. It’s known for its health benefits as it uses simple and natural flavors and very little fat. Even though this dish is sweet to taste it’s not exactly dessert. Rice is generally pretty heavy on the stomach and therefore dhakani is eaten as a part of the main course.