My all time favorite food

Sunita Giri 9:51 PM |

Sel falls on, the must have food list, for any foreigners, especially expats, who wants to know Nepal throw its foods. Sel is a festival food, mainly this food is associated with Tihar, but now a days anyone can buy it from Bhatbhateni Super Markets any time, where it moves pretty fast, yet; that is also not as good as to make me forget, which I had in my childhood making it my all time favorite food. I have tasted all kinds of Sel, until now, but it only reminds me of how good they used to make it and we devoured it without even thinking how hard it was to make.

If I have a slightest doubt about the full contribution of Kedar Shrestha, the housemother during Dashain who help made delicacies wow ! and picture perfect, then there should be no doubt for her contributions to make Sel perfect one, during Tihar. Its not that there was not other dishes like Malpuwa and Puri but Sel really stood tall in front of other roties served during Tihar.

It could be, perhaps that in due course of time, I had Puri and Malpuwa, which were as better or at times a lot better than the one which I had in Bal Mandir, but I have not tasted not yet the kind of Sel; which they used to make in Bal Mandir. Until now I must have tasted close to hundred different kinds of Sel and from different houses. None of it come close to the kind of Sel, we had during my stay in Bal Mandir, not even remotely close.

Though ingredients to make it seems pretty simple and not much expensive also. All one needs is a bit rough rice flour, sugar, good quality fat and ample of it for deep fry and that's all. But not every one can make is as good as the ladies who made it, when I was young. Perhaps its the process and experience that is a must to make good Sel, than the ingredients itself.

Its one of my all time favorite food also, yet this is perhaps one of the things which I like but I don't know how to make it.

The sel, used to be very big, than they make it in normal families, which I find very lean and thin and pitiable looking, look of it makes me even more hungry for the sel which i grew up eating. They used to plan and make, two per plate for the main festival, so by default they have to make it big. They used to make enough for Tihar and after that they used to use the same for a day times snacks also, for a couple of days. Even after having it for couple of days, it only teased my taste bud for the whole year and the next year, it was the same story. It used to finish, without fully satisfying my desire to have more. I think its good, if I had it, up to my throat then; it would have never stayed on the tip of my tongue and memory until now.

When I look back, it really makes me wonder how could they maintained the same taste, color and the crust with its crunchiness in it, to stay in my tongue for long after, I leave my childhood behind.

One thing, which I remember is, boys and the wood chopper used to chop woods in small sizes and then let it dry under the sunny October sun for two - three weeks. Then for a week or so it used to stay behind the huge fire of big clay oven, where they used to cook our meal for twice a day, to dry it properly. Then it used to make its way to the first floor kitchen, on the day of Laxmi Puja. This kitchen was used as a room of two nannies as well as it also served as children's dress storeroom, for rest of the year but on this day, it is used as a kitchen, as it had the chimney to let all the smokes out of the rooms.

There all experienced ladies used to make Sel, Puri, Malpuwa during Tihar, which is the second biggest festival of our country. There on that room Housemother, Kedar Shrestha used to inspect every details of it, and order as per the need, to nannies who used to make it under her supervision. She was the perfectionist, so she paid attention to every small details. Shova Didi, Chandra Didi, and Jamuna Didis names comes instantly, in my mind, when the word Sel is mentioned.



The room, which is used to make Tihar delicacies, was small, enough only to cook therefore those roties needed to be stored in other room which was bigger. They used to store it in our study room, which remained vacant during the festival time. Many boys and girls used to light that big pan without feeling guilty, which was sent to store. Because just like Mo: Mo: Sel is also, the kind of food, which taste best, if you have it, while its still hot / warm. Its not that cold Sel is not good but to take the real taste of Sel one must have it hot.

They say that, God is in the details, so no wonder with her Sharp supervision and the hard work and experience of those nannies; the Sel used to be so perfect; its so hard to forget even today.

1 comment:

Alex said...

It looks like a pretzel to me. LOL. It looks very amusing, and it also seems tasty. I better try one of those when I visit Nepal. I wonder why they consider it a festival food. ;)

Alex Staff

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