10 Essential Spices for Nepalese Cooking

Nepal is very rich when it comes to cuisine. You can taste several different and delicious flavours in Nepalese cuisine. The secret of such rich taste is the spices and the way it uses during the cooking process. In this article, I am going to introduce essential and commonly used ingredients, which can be found in every Nepalese kitchen.


Turmeric is a flowering plant. The root of this plant is using for culinary propose. Most of the Nepalese food is incomplete without turmeric.  It does not only give a beautiful yellow colour to the food but also gives a flavour. Consuming turmeric has also several health benefits. It contains a substance called Curcumin, which a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The Nepali name of the Turmeric is “Besar”.


Cumin also knowns as “Jira” is another core ingredient of Nepalese cuisine. There are 2 methods to use cumin. The first way is using cumin seeds and the next is powder out of cumin seeds.


Coriander is one of the common ingredients, which can be found in every Nepalese kitchen. It is known as a “Dhaniya”. The powder and seeds of the coriander are using during the cooking process. Apart from that, it can be used as a fresh leaf to garnish food and salad. The dips and chutney out of coriander leaf are also very popular.

Garam Masala

Garam Masala is an ingredient which gives the very authentic Nepalese flavour to food. This is a combination of several spices but Cumin, Coriander, Green and Black Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Bay leaves, Pepper, Fennel, Mace and dried Chilies etc. You can easily find this spice at the market or simply make it at home.


Fenugreek seed is a popular ingredient, which is also known as “Methi”. In Nepal people also eat the leaf of the Fenugreek. however, the fenugreek seed is using in order to make curry and tempering the food. Tempering is one of the cooking technique which is very famous in South Asian countries. While tempering, the spices are roasted in oil or butter in order to enhance their flavours and pour together with the dish.


Most of the Nepalese dishes are incomplete without chilli. In Nepali chilli is known as ” Khurshani”. There is a different form of chilli that are using for cooking. The chilli can be used as a fresh, dry or in powder form. In Nepal, several kinds of chilli can be found such as “Akabare Khursani”, “Dalle Khurshani”, “Jire Khursani” etc. While cooking you can customize the quantities of chillies as per your taste.


Thyme or “Jyuwano” is one of the ingredients that is commonly used in Nepal. The seed of this herb is using for culinary process.

Szechwan Pepper

The Nepalese name of Szechwan pepper is “Timmur”. It looks similar to black paper, same in size, shape and colour but tastes entirely different. Timmur can be found in the wild forest in Nepal. When is mature, it will be dried and ready to use. It has a very sharp taste. The shape of the Timmur is round and half-splits with a seed inside. The outer part of the Timmur has some wrinkles. This spice is usually using to make pickle but also use for some curry. People prefer to make a powder out of this in order to enhance the taste.


Ginder is a very common ingredient in the culinary world. In Nepal also people are using ginger regularly. while cooking, the paste of ginger will authentic flavour to the food. its also used for garnishing the food. Having Ginger tea is also a very common trend in Nepal. The Nepali name of the Ginger is “Aduwa”.


Garlic or ” Lasun” can be easily found in every Nepalese kitchen. People are not only using the root of the garlic but also the leaf. Garlic paste is using while making curry as well as tempering food with garlic is also very popular.


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