Jaa (food)

Newa cuisine (also referred to as Newar or Newari cuisine) is a subset of Nepalese cuisine that has developed over centuries among the Newars of Kathmandu ( Yehn in Nepal Bhasa ), Nepal. Newa cuisine consists of over 200 dishes. It is more elaborate than most Nepalese cuisines because the Kathmandu Valley has exceptionally fertile alluvial soil and enough wealthy households to make growing produce more profitable than cultivating rice and other staples. Furthermore cuisine is a key part of Newari culture as seen in the proverb, “Parbate bigre mojle; Newar bigre bhojle” ("Nepalese hill people bankrupt themselves with sexual amusements; Newars bankrupt themselves with feasts.")


Jaa is the staple food of the Newa people. It consists of boiled rice eaten with lentils, vegetables and curry.


  • Tarkari refers to vegetables.
  • Mustard seed oil is used extensively in authentic Newa cuisine.
  • Baji (Beaten Rice, eaten at festivals, parties, and as afternoon snacks )
  • Sya Baji ( Variation of beaten rice)
  • Go-fagi
  • Haja (Steamed rice)
  • Jaulo also known as Haloo Jaa i.e. Turmeric Rice( Rice cooked with turmeric, salt, ghee, ginger, cumin and garlic )
  • Chataamari (rice flour crepe)
  • Baaraa (black lentil based chapati)
  • Pyaj ( Onions )
  • Waaunchha (green vegetables )
  • Paaunkwa: (sour lapsi(Chinese plum) soup)
  • Chasu-palacha (spinach)
  • Bhuti (black-eyed peas)
  • Dhau (yogurt, Juju Dhau or King Yogurt is the highest quality yogurt which is made in Khowpa/Bhaktapur)
  • Puri (flattened fried bread)
  • Kani (corn)
  • Chhushya (barley, usually roasted )
  • Musya (soybeans)
  • Haku Musya ( Black Soybeans; roasted and fried in oil and salt )
  • Alu achaar (spicy potato salad like pickle, made with boiled potatoes, seasonal raw vegetables and sesame seeds)
  • Wo (black lentil based flattened cake; spicy and salty)
  • Moo Kehn (yellow lentil soup with oil and spices)
  • May Kehn (black lentil soup with oil, yams, herbs and spices)
  • Quati (nine bean soup with sprouted beans)
  • Guara Mari (Fried dough, similar to elephant ears but savory )
  • Tushi Achar (Spicy cucumber pickle)
  • Golbheda Achar (Spicy tomato pickle)
  • Laba (fried garlic greens)
  • Phashi (pumpkin)
  • Kauli (Cauliflower)
  • Bhyanta ( Eggplant )
  • Tukancha ( Mustard greens )
  • Rajma (kidney beans)
  • Bakula ( fava beans; the green ones are mixed with other vegetables, dried ones are roasted with skin )
  • Amli ( sour berry like fruit; made into achar (pickles) or sour spicy soup )
  • Kakacha (Bitter Gourd)
  • Simpu (white beans)
  • Kyegu (Soaked beans, sprouted mung beans marinated in oil and spices and eaten raw)
  • Gajar ( Carrot )
  • Yams ( Fried, mixed in black lentil soup etc. )
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Lain ( Radish; fresh and sun-dried, eaten raw, cooked with vegetables and meats, made into pickles )
  • Pancha Kwa (Fermented Bamboo Shoots, potatoes, dried mushroom, dried radish and black eyed pea curry soup )
  • Mashyora ( Black lentil manchurian and potato mixed vegetable dish )
  • Tama (Bamboo roots with soup)


The Newahs are one of the rare ethnic groups of South Asia that eat water buffalo with over 80 varieties of buffalo dishes. Laa is the Newah word for meat.

  • Chhoyla (Boiled and marinated buffalo meat)
  • Kachilaa (marinated raw minced buffalo meat)
  • Bhuton (fried buffalo meat, usually intestine)
  • Sanyaa (dried fish; fried eaten with spices or mixed with Tomato Achar )
  • Khen (egg)
  • Sanyaakhuna (jellied/gelatinous fish cold soup, eaten in winter)
  • Takhaa (jellied/gelatinous buffalo cold soup, eaten in winter)
  • Dukula (goat meat)
  • Henyla (duck)
  • Khayala (chicken)
  • Khasila ( castrated goat meat; a delicacy )
  • Ja(n)la
  • Momocha (potstickers,usually buffalo. There is also a sweet version made of solidified and sweetened cream )
  • So-laa (battered and fried buffalo and goat lung)
  • Knyaa (fish; dried and preserved and fresh )
  • Sapumhichha (liquid bone marrow encased in stomach lining)
  • Mee-kwa (fenugreek sprouts and small peas)
  • Nhyapu (brains, usually fried)
  • Meh(n) (boiled tongue, usually fried with spices and oil)
  • Cho-hi (steamed buffalo blood with marrow and spices)
  • Pukala ( fried meat )
  • Sukula ( dried meat,jerky )
  • Kwa Ghasa (thick broth from leftover meats and vegetables, has a distinct smell and taste)


  • Shyawu ( Apple )
  • Suntala ( Tangerine )
  • Kera ( Bananas)
  • Muntala ( Kumquat )
  • Bhogate ( Pomelo )
  • Aamashi (Guava)
  • Anar (Pomegranate)
  • Asian Pear
  • Persimmons
  • Kharbuja (Watermelon)
  • Kagati (Lime and Lemon)
  • Aanh ( Mango )


  • Chi ( Salt )
  • Be chi ( Black Rock Salt; strong smell and flavor )
  • Malta ( Red or Green Chili Peppers )
  • Hin ( Asafoetida )
  • Chini ( Sugar )
  • Chikan ( oil, usually mustard oil )
  • Ghya ( Ghee )
  • Laba ( Garlic )
  • Palu ( Ginger )
  • Ji Chi ( Cumin )
  • Jhikucha ( Dried mountain herb; sauteed in mustard oil and poured over soups and dishes; enhances flavor )
  • Haloo (Turmeric; orange or yellow )
  • Hamo ( Sesame seeds )
  • Mee ( Fenugreek )
  • Dhaniya ( Cilantro )
  • Dalchin ( Cinnamon )
  • Lawan ( Cloves )
  • Tejpat ( Bay Leaves )
  • Coriander seed
  • Male ( Black Pepper )
  • Chaku ( Black Molasses,hardened )
  • Sakha ( Yellow Molasses )
  • Chu Paun ( Vinegar )

Alcohol and derivatives

Alcohol is served in Khola, which are made of clay, brass, silver or gold.

  • Aila (liquor) (Hard liquor most commonly made out of rice. Very high alcohol content)
  • Thwon (Rice Beer; very sweet to sour in taste)
  • Hyangu Thwon (similar to red wine; light)
  • Kaa Thowon

Beverages and soups

  • La (water)
  • Duru (milk)
  • Ken ( Lentils; black, yellow and red)
  • Lai Kwa
  • Pau Kwa ( Sour and spicy soup )
  • Mee Kwa
  • Chhon (Spicy Bamboo soup)
  • Quanti ( Nine bean soup )

Sweets and dessert

  • Anarsaa
  • Ayantha-mari
  • Barfi
  • Chappa
  • Gundpakh
  • Haluwa
  • Khajuri
  • Jeri
  • Laddu
  • Lakhamari
  • Lalmohan
  • Maalpuwaa
  • Mugdal
  • Nimki
  • Puri
  • Pyara
  • Rasbhari
  • Roth
  • Sel
  • Swaari
  • Yomari


Newars cook, store and serve food and beverages in containers and utensils made of gold, silver, copper, brass, iron, clay pottery, dried rice stalks, corn leaves and leaves of certain trees sewn together with toothpicks to make plates and bowls. Food is eaten with bare hands. It is customary to wash hands before and after a meal.

  • Karuwa ( Water "jug')
  • Bata ( Bucket or soup pot )
  • Anti ( Hard Rice Alcohol serving container )
  • Khola ( Cup )
  • Hasa ( Used for drying vegetables, separating the husks and rice; circular in shape,woven out of dried rattan )
  • Dhampo ( Large container; usually holds water )
  • Chakku ( knife )
  • Atha (Jug )

External links

  • http://www.gorkhapatra.org.np/detail.php?article_id=14534&cat_id=10
  • http://www.nepalitimes.com/issue/2003/08/29/Leisure/3918
  • http://www.weallnepali.com/recipe/newari-food
  • http://www.gfcookingclub.com/tag/newari-food/
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