Daal, Bhaat – The Culture Reflector
Pic by: Sonia
I hail from a country that is multicultural, multiethnic and multilinguist. Nepal is known for its cultural and religious diversity which also includes a variety of food associated with various cultures and religions. In a country with 8 religions and more than 100 ethnic groups, the food we eat varies too.
In Nepal, people belonging to various castes and sub-castes such as Brahmins, Chettris, Newars, Madheshi, Tamang, Limbu.Rai etc. live together in harmony. The food they eat varies according to their culture, customs, and religion. Brahmins, being the priests, consume a vegetarian diet in which the consumption of garlic, onions and liquor are not allowed. Whereas, the Chettris, being a warrior caste, include meat and other animal products in their diet in order to be in good physical shape. No matter what ethnicity a Nepali hails from, the consumption of beef is forbidden.
Daal-Bhaat-Tarkari is the standard dish that is eaten throughout Nepal, including in my family. For every Nepali, Daal-Bhaat-Tarkari is a must for lunch and for dinner. Daal is a soup which is made of lentils, Bhaat is boiled grain, Tarkari means vegetable curry with a small amount of pickle. Daal- Bhaat is made each morning before we head to our work or schools. This meal plays a very important role in my family’s schedule. We also have Dhindo, another popular food item of Nepal, which is made by boiling water where the corn flour is continuously stirred and mixed. Like Daal-Bhaat- Tarkari, Dhindo is also eaten as a main meal in different parts of Nepal.
I belong to a Chettri family where meat is an integral part of our diet. We also have a bizarre addiction to oils, as everything we cook is deeply fried. Our daily meal is supposed to be full of nutrition and nourishment so as to make us physically fit and mentally strong to carry out our daily chores. The diet of the Chettri families still remains as the diet that is best suited for a warrior’s hectic lifestyle. It is loaded with an abundance of carbohydrates and proteins! Although the days of royal wars are long gone, but our diet still equips us to meet the fast-paced lifestyle and rigorous commitments of today’s modern world. We may not be lifting swords anymore to win or defend our boundaries, but we are always ready to fight for what is right and are always geared up to brave all the adversities that may lie in the offing.
My parents are the bread-winners for my family; they work extremely hard to provide quality education and a plush life for my brother and me. Both, my brother and me, nurture ambitious life goals and are determined to make our parents proud one day with our accomplishments.