The three tasty nuggets from the southern plains of Nepal

Food Issue 212 Jul, 2019

As the saying goes ‘make hay while the sun shines,’and local communities in Nepal have the habit of saving food items for the rainy season when vegetables are scarce. They have been making gundruk, sinki, and pickles along with drying vegetables to save for rainy days since time immemorial. Among those several food items, namely adauri, chiknauri and fulauri are three nuggets that you must taste while travelling to the southern plains of Nepal.
Adauri are made from black gram, which is soaked in water overnight and then dehusked the following day. This dehusked black gram is then left to dry in the sun for two to three days and then milled into flour. The flour is mixed with water to form a gooey dough and shaped into small nuggets, which are spread either on a mat or a nanglo (a flat, round bamboo tray) and left to dry in the sun for a day or two. A thin layer of mustard oil is used to coat the surface before spreading out the adauri so that they don’t stick to the mat or nanglo. Once dry they are stored in an airtight dry container. They tastes superb and are full of protein. However, it's tricky to cook. You need to fry it before adding spices, water and salt to taste. And if you fry it more than needed, it further stiffens and you won't be able to chew it. But if you fry it less than required, it smells like raw black gram flour. However, if fried to a reddish brown colour and then cooked as any other curry, it softens and tastes great. That's why, especially in the southern plains, a newly married bride is asked to cook adauri when she arrives at the groom's house, to check her culinary skills!

Adauri is also cooked together with other vegetables and when it’s combined with potatoes, bottle gourd or brinjal (eggplant) it tastes much better. Although adauri is made mainly from black gram flour, it is occasionally also made from other lentils like green gram. The green gram adauri and brinjal make a great combination.
Another nugget, in fact, is a super nugget since it is made from flaxseed which we all know is a super food. Called chiknauri (beware, it's a vulgar word in Nepali) in the southern plains of Nepal, flaxseeds are bound together with a black gram paste and salt is added to taste. The nuggets, again like adauri, are spread out on a mat or nanglo with a thin layer of mustard oil and left to dry in the sun. Once dry, they can be stored in an air-tight container and fried up whenever you want to eat them. They’re crispy and tasty.

Fulauri or rice flour cracker, is our final southern food and it’s pretty simple to make. Rice flour is boiled together with water till it becomes sticky and gooey. Then salt is added to taste, together with a bit of carom seeds and edible colour before the batter is allowed to cool. Then small nuggets are made from the mixture and left to dry in the sun. These can also be fried and are then ready to eat as snacks.