Chhwela (Nepali: छ्वेला) is a typical Newari appetizer, spicy and meaty. It is customarily aided with chiura or rice flakes. I like it as a side dish with normal rice or rice flakes. It’s my all-time picked dish. Typically chhwelas are grilled buffalo meat especially Water buffalo , but it can be either mutton, chicken or even a duck. I like gravy chhwela rather than dry chhwela. Gravy chhwela are easygoing with anything and dry chhwela are something mostly enjoyed with drinks and wines. The juices of chhwela surge in your mouth as spicy liquid, rich in protein. Just like other Newari cuisine, chhwela are made seamlessly on hay fire (fire using wheat stalks). Hay or wheat stalks amplifies fire so, it is perfect to cook chhwela on hay fire that produce less smoke than woods and create nice texture to the meat.
It is considered a necessary part of the diet called Haku Chhewla in festivals among the Newar community along with several other ingredients. It is also an important ingredient of Samay Baji. Writing something about food makes me starve and especially meats. So, without any further ado, the following are the ingredients for making scrumptious and mouth-watering chhwela.
1. 1 lb or 0.5 kg chicken thighs (better use boneless chicken thighs), Buffalo meat, mutton, chicken or duck meat
2. 2 tablespoon Timmur Chopp (Sichuan pepper)
3. 1 tablespoon cumin powder
4. 1 tablespoon black salt
5. 5-6 green chilies sliced
6. 6-7 pods thinly julienned garlic
7. 1 inch fresh thin julienned ginger
8. 2 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
9. 1 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
10. 2 Whole Tomatoes
11. Salt to taste
12. Add Chilli Powder (Khursani Dhulo) to taste
13. Add Extra 1/2 tbsp Timmur Powder (Nepali Timmur Dhulo) to taste
1. 2 – 3 tablespoon Nepali Bhuteko Toriko Tel (fried mustard oil)
2. 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
3. 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
Firstly, you have to clean the meat and marinate it with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and salt. Fire off the grill and cook the meat both sides until they are perfectly cooked. Then adding whole tomatoes on the grill and cooking it until its done will nourish it.
When the pieces of meat are cooked nicely, remove it from the heat, cut it to small pieces and add it to a big mixing bowl. Remove tomato from the grill and cut it into small pieces. Then add all the herbs and spices except for those that are required for tempering and mix everything thoroughly.
Now, heat mustard oil in a pan and add fenugreek (methi) seeds. When it turns dark, switch off the heat and add turmeric to it. Pour the mixture over the meat pieces and mix it well. Leave it aside for about ten to fifteen minutes and then Serve your Haku Choila with rice flakes or alone.
By: Sanjay Rajbhandari