Momos are quintessentially Nepalese. These flavor-packed, bite-sized dumplings are so popular that they are sold by street food vendors and also feature prominently on menus of upscale restaurants in Nepal. Eaten as a snack, an appetizer, or made a complete meal of along with soup, momos are versatile. Traditionally, momos, like their cousin the gyoza, are steamed and consist of a flour-based wrapper with a minced meat filling that is spiced with aromatics. Chicken, goat, and buffalo meat are most commonly used fillings, however, modern takes on this traditional favorite also use vegetables, greens, and occasionally cheese. Details
The news reports out of India over the past few months have been heart-breaking as the country has experienced a disastrous, second COVID-19 outbreak, resulting in over 400,000 new cases daily at its peak. Now, Nepal is suffering a similar fate with a devastating second wave of COVID-19. Latest reports are that Nepal is considering declaring a health emergency as the virus rampages across its country. BlinkNow Foundation, a Together Women Rise grantee, recently posted on its Facebook page that the number of COVID-19 cases in Nepal has increased over 2000% in the past month. BlinkNow also states that nearly 65 per cent of COVID-19 tests in their region have been positive. Details
Fun fact: a large number of small Indian restaurants in the United States of America are actually run by Nepali immigrant chefs. Several serve Indian food along with (if one were to look at the fine print on the menu) some dishes that are of Nepali or Himalayan origin. But, repeat after me and loudly: Nepali cuisine is not Indian cuisine (our Nepali friends will appreciate us remembering this). Nepal, through its geographical and historical association with India and Tibet, has influences of both in its cuisine. However, the flavor profile is different. Nepali dishes use fewer spices and aromatics and less heat. Also, Nepali cuisine has a preponderance of vegetarian dishes. Second fun fact: “vegetarian” in Nepal can mean different things. It could mean “not meat and eggs” (dairy products such as milk and cheese are consumed, however) but it could also mean “not beef” (but include poultry and mutton). The latter is tied to the sanctity of cows in the Hindu faith. Details
The craft of preserving foods by pickling them is such an important technique in so many of the world’s food cultures. In Nepal, the country of origin of October’s featured grantee, Street Child US, pickles are called achaar. They’re often served alongside the dal and rice dishes of Nepal, in order to provide flavor and texture contrast to all of those warming, earthy, savory flavors. Details
Nepal Youth Foundation was a Dining for Women Featured Grantee in 2012 and a Sustained Grantee from 2016-2018. In total, we have invested more than $100,000 in the organization. These funds have been used to help eradicate the selling of young girls into bonded servitude and to promote gender equality and empower women in Nepal. Our Sustained Grant helped to increase the employability and end poverty of the girls freed from the Kamlari system of indentured servitude.
When Pushpa C. was only 10 years old, her desperately poor parents sent her into servitude as a “Kamlari” so the family could pay their debts. This type of domestic slavery was all too common in some regions in rural Nepal. Details
We are off to Kathmandu this month. I’ve always wanted to go there. Since I’m stuck in Seattle in front of my computer though, I will have to find another way to experience Nepal. That’s one of the great benefits about being a Dining for Women member: armchair travel, through our monthly grantees and exploring the cuisine of different countries feels like I’m there – almost. So let’s go! Details
Our culinary travel this month of December finds us in the Himalayas, specifically Nepal.
Originally, I had it in mind to come up with an interesting twist on the “momo”, a Nepalese steamed dumpling with a meat or vegetable filling, wildly popular and sold on the streets. What about a sweet dumpling filling and call it dessert? My first attempt at this idea was a complete failure, but I still liked the idea and decided I’d work on this for the next time we visit Nepal in April 2016. So I’ve got time to get this right!
Women in Nepal will bear the greatest burden of loss following the recent earthquakes. The loss of home and a sense of place is one, but women are also at risk and vulnerable to traffickers and abusers. Programs we have sponsored in Nepal are working hard to help each other to overcome this adversity. Details
Dining for Women members and friends all share the concern for our programs in Nepal, and for all the residents of the country who have lost so much in the Nepal quake. Details
Former kamlari slaves have had their lives transformed thanks to the efforts of the Nepal Youth Foundation and the support of Dining for Women. They now are transforming the lives of other. An inspiring self-perpetuating cycle that we are proud to be part of.
The Nepal Youth Foundation was our featured program in January 2012. Dining for Women funded the Indentured Daughters Program, which, with the official abolition of kamlari, has become the Empowering Freed Kamlaris program. We recently saw an inspiring television report on their success and asked for an inside look. This update on the organization’s efforts and the photos and success stories show the tremendous impact we can all have. Details