Tag Archives: newari food

Chicken Chilli Nepali Style

I’ve been craving for chicken chilli and jhol momo (dumplings in hot tomato soup) for a while now.

Being a new parent, hubby and I are still struggling to manage time as our life revolves around our world (baby) and his routine.

Last weekend we finally managed to go out for a quick dinner. We went to this Nepali cafe. We ordered jhol momo, chicken chilli and chowmein.

The food was great especially jhol momo but I didn’t like chicken chilli as much. It was too sweet and lacked the balance of flavours. I was little dissappointed so I thought I will make it myself at home.

Last night when I opened my fridge to prepare dinner, I thought I will make chicken chilli and satisfy my cravings. I didn’t have capsicum (bell peppers) but I substituted it with mushroom and spring onions.

It turned out very well. It was saucy, fiery and tasted exactly like the ones you get in restaurants in Kathmandu.

Chicken chilli is much loved appetizer in Nepal. Nepali cuisine is heavily influenced from its neighboring countries China and India. It is basically a fusion cuisine of both and probably best of both. While the daily meal of rice, lentils, vegetable and meat is mostly based on curries and spices but more subtle than indian curries. The snacks and the appetizers are mostly inspired by Chinese and sichuan cuisines. The stir frys, chowmin, spring rolls and momos are just a few dishes that are not only the favourites but part of of Nepalese cuisine which has it’s unique nepali style flavours. The use of sichuan pepper in newari food shows the similarity with sichuan cuisine. I’ve been to few sichuan restaurants here in Oz and the flavours reminds me of newari food.

You can find chicken chilli in every menu in the restaurant. It’s my regular order along with momo and chowmin. This dish is also served as an appetizer in Nepalese parties.

Here is my version on chicken chilli recipe.

For Marinade
1 kilo of Chicken Thigh Fillets
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon chilli powder (or as per your taste)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoon corn starch powder
1 large egg
Half of lemon juice
Salt as per taste

Oil to deep fry
2 onion cut in quartered
2 medium sized quartered tomatoes
3 mushroom quartered
2 sprigs of spring onion cut in an angle
Dash of soy sauce
4 fresh chillies
2 tablespoon ketchup

(Original recipe uses 1 capsicum instead of mushroom)

Cut chicken into cubes and mix all the marinde ingredients into chicken. Leave chicken overnight or at least one hour for flavours to infuse.



Heat oil for deep frying. When oil is hot, fry chicken in batches until golden brown. Remove chicken off the pan and set aside.



In a pan, heat 3 tablespoon of oil and add onion, mushroom. Sauté it for 2-3 minutes then add tomatoes and fresh chillies . Add pinch of salt, splash of soy sauce and 2 tablespoon of ketchup ( I used Heinz fiery ketchup. It’s quite hot).



Add fried chicken and stir well. Add 3 tablespoon of water to make it moist and saucy. Stir fry for 2 more minutes. Add spring onion.


Serve with a bowl of steamed rice or on it’s own as a great appetizer.


Lai Kawaf (Daikon Radish with Goat curry)

This is one of classic and authentic curry dish that my mother used to make. It’s my all time absolute favourite curry dish. It’s a comfort food that goes very well with bowl of steam rice.

Normally we make it this curry with buffalo meat. Buffalo meat is the staple of newari cuisine. I love buffalo meat. It’s hard to get buff here so I substituted with goat meat.

I went to market last Saturday. I bought goat leg on skin. I love meat on bone and with skin. It is the best way to cook meat as it keeps meat moist, juicy and gives lots of texture. The slow cooked or braised meat on skin and bone is so good. The skin gets gelatinous and sticky and the marrow in the bone gives natural oilyness. I know here people don’t like their meat on bone and/or skin but you should try it, it’s just delicious. In Nepal, we chomp down every part of animal even offals. I have to admit that I love offal dish called Vutan. It’s definitely an acquired taste but if done right (like cleaning and poaching and frying) it’s so tasty. You can find these authentic dishes at local nepali restaurants.

I have to admit I love grocery shopping. It will sound crazy to you but when I see and buy all these great produce, I get excited with all these great ideas in my head of what I’m going to cook out of these produce. I go gaga for fresh herbs, green vegetables and I absolutely love tomato.

So when I bought this goat leg, I thought I will make a beautiful curry. Since it’s freezing here in Australia, this curry will warm your body and soul. The radish and potato soaks up the meatiness of goat and takes it to new height.

Here’s the recipe. Use pressure cooker to reduce cook time in half. If not, use thick based pot to slow cook for an hour.

Radish can be substituted with turnips or zucchini if you are not big fan of cooked radish.

Ingredients ( Serves 8)

1 kilo of meat (goat leg cut into chunky curry sized pieces)
1 onion
2 medium sized potatoes (cut into cubes)
1 regular sized daikon Radish (cut into cubes)
1 stick of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of garlic paste
1 tablespoon of ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (I used BMC meat masala that mom sent from Nepal)
2 tablespoon of oil
Handful of chopped fresh coriander
Salt to taste

Put the cooker on heat and add oil. When oil is hot, sauté onion until golden brown. Add goat meat and fry to seal and brown the meat. Add potatoes and the spices, except for garam masala. Let the spice cook for few minutes. Add 500 ml of water or stock and cook it for 30 minutes until meat is tender. Add daikon radish and garam masala and cook it for another 10 minutes. It’s cooked when meat’s falling off the bone and the skin is sticky and gelatinous.

Garnish with coriander and serve hot with steamed rice.