Last week I got to learn more about the natural spices used in traditional Nepali cuisine at The Khukuri Nepalese Restaurant, here in Edinburgh. All the spices are prepared by hand, free from additives and are also gluten free. Spices not only enhance flavours but also have health benefits too! Did you know that both Timbur and Jimbu spices are brought back from Nepal especially and can only be found in Nepali restaurants.
Spice Up Your Life Today with Some Natural Spices
Timbur or also known as Himalayan szechuan pepper is a shrub relating to the citrus family - Rutaceae. It grows in the warmer valleys of the Himalayas and unlike most peppers it isn't hot but has underlying tones of citrus that triggers the nerves in the tongue. It is usually paired with garlic and chilies to flavour meat for momos.
The fruit is harvested in October through till November when the fruit is ripe, it is then dry cooked before being grinded in preparation for cooking. Timbur is also used medicinally for common ailments such as toothache, common cold, cough and fever.
Jimbu also known as Himalayan aromatic leaf garlic is a mixture of two herbs Allium hypsistum and Allium przewalskianuma, members of the onion family.
It is used extensively throughout Nepal, primarily dried to flavour vegetables, pickles and meat. It tastes of a mixture between onion and chives. It is harvested between June and September then dried and stored for later use as only available seasonally.
This unsuspecting small crescent shaped seed gives a warming punch. A common kitchen spice which has a number of health benefits including the ability to aid digestion, respiratory disorders and diabetes.
The Black Cumin seed comes from the Nigella Sativa plant, native to Asia. As well as being used to enhance flavours of food it is also known as the ancient remedy for all diseases. "The Black Cumin oil is probably the single most important oil you can put in your System" - Dr. Gary Null. Has been widely used to reduce blood pressure and treat headaches and toothache.
Anise or also known as Aniseed is a flowering plant part of the Apiaceae family. Native to the eastern Mediterranean and southwest Asia. It's flavour is similar to fennel and liquorice. Used to enhance flavour of red meat dishes. Anise is also said to promote the wellbeing of the digestive system.
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, when dried, the fruit is known as a peppercorn.
Sage a popular Mediterranean herb part of the mint family, highly aromatic it is not only used in cooking but also to make teas. They are said to aid sore throats and coughs by gargling, due to it's anti-inflammatory properties.
Bay Leaves from the Laurel shrub are aromatic, adding spice to a dish. The popular spice is widely known for both its culinary and medicinal uses. Mostly used when dried in cooking
Cardamom has a wonderful aroma with a spicy/sweet flavour. Health benefits include aiding blood circulation. Did you know that Cardamom is also an aphrodisiac.