Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Biriya – the delicious dry greens from Nepal’s southern plains

Have you heard about “biriya”? In southern plains of Nepal, this dry green vegetable, eaten during the rainy season, is quite popular. During the winter, women gather the green vegetables, wither them a bit, wrap them in black gram paste and let them dry. The dried biriya is stored in a dry place and used as an alternative vegetable during the rainy season when the green vegetables are scarce.

In the West they say "make hay when there is sunshine" and here in the southern plains of Nepal, the locals say "wrap and dry vegetables when they are found in abundance". They collect mustard leaves, broad leaf mustard and grass peas, let them wither a bit and wrap them with black gram flour paste. Drying them on sun makes "biriya", as they call locally, that is stored to be cooked during the rainy season when the green vegetables are scarce. The black gram paste gives a tangy taste to biriya and also works as a preservative. Plus it's a source of high protein. If you ask me personally, I like the mustard leaves biriya the most! Want a "biriya" recipe? DM me for details. ------- #biriya #wrappedgreens #grasspeas #broadleafmustard #mustard #terai #Nepal #Tharus #storing #savingforfuture #resilience #travelgram #traveldiary #instalike #instapic #picoftheday #photooftheday #instatravel #localtaste #curry #traditionalknowledge
A post shared by Sanjib Chaudhary (@sankuchy) on

Looking at how it got the name ‘biriya’, I came across an interesting response from my friend Shubhashish Panigrahi from Odisha. Responding to my above Instagram post, he said, “Black gram is Biri in Odia. I know we are related.” 

And yes, when I see the Eastern Tharu and Odia languages, there are lot many similarities between the both. At least I have found many words with same roots. There’s some relationship between natives of Odisha and the Tharus of Nepal. Watch this space for more posts on the similarities!