Recipes for Change: Dhindo – corn flour purée with nettle leaf curry and pickled tomatoes – Nepal
Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia that heavily depends on agriculture. Over 80 per cent of the population lives in rural areas and is engaged in subsistence farming. Although four out of five households are involved in agriculture, most of the population lacks the skills necessary to innovate cultivation practices. Outdated methods end up decreasing the potential of farming in the country despite its vast land area. This, in turn, leads to unemployment and youth out-migration.
Besides the socioeconomic challenges posed to the Nepalese rural areas, climate change further complicates farmers’ lives. Some of the threats include droughts, increased temperatures, infertile land and a harsh winter season. High temperatures intensify the growth of pests and the dry weather reduces water availability and increases the likelihood of forest fires. The depletion of water sources also forces wild animals to invade villages in search of food and water. Landslides and soil erosion are also part of the climate change impact on the region and are aggravated by the lack of proper infrastructure.
Nepal’s agriculture is heavily based on corn, nettle leaves and tomato. Corn is a good source of Vitamin C, thiamine, and folate, while 100g of nettle leaves can provide almost half of the recommended daily values of Vitamin A and calcium. Tomatoes are also important due to their high content of lycopene, a strong antioxidant. Preserving these crops, therefore, is essential for the Nepalese population.
IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) supports the Adaptation for Smallholders in Hilly Areas (ASHA) project, which offers solutions for small-scale farmers in Nepal.
Climate risks to corn and tomato:
- Droughts and forest fires
- Landslides and erosion
- Increased pests
- Water conservation and distribution schemes
- Promotion of integrated pest management
- Capacity-building in climate-resilient agriculture
- Renewable energy technologies such as watermills
Dhindo – Corn flour purée with nettle leaf curry and pickled tomatoes
- 2L water
- 400g corn flour
Nettle leaf curry
- 200g raw nettle leaves, or spinach or beet greens
- 1L water
- 10g corn flour, to be sprinkled onto the nettle leaves
- 120g corn flour, to be mixed into the water
- Salt and Sichuan pepper to taste
- Green chilies and garlic to taste (optional)
- Pickled tomatoes
- 10 medium tomatoes
- 10g Sichuan pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 4 green chilies
- 1 chopped onion
- 10g green coriander
- Red chili powder and salt to taste
- Boil the water in a heavy pot with a pinch of flour.
- Once the water starts boiling, add the flour and stir continuously.
- The dhindo is ready when the mix becomes consistent and turns brown.
Traditionally, dhindo is eaten with the hands by dipping small amounts in curry.
Nettle leaf curry
- Sprinkle 5g of corn flour evenly onto the nettle leaves (alternative: spinach or beet greens).
- Dissolve 60g of corn flour directly into the pot with water to cook the leaves.
- Grind garlic, chilies and pepper into a smooth paste. Once the water starts boiling, add the paste to it.
- Add the leaves and salt to the water and let them cook.
- Stir occasionally until you obtain a thick, dark green soup.
- Roast the tomatoes until the skin turns dark.
- Peel the roasted tomatoes.
- Crush the chili powder, salt, green chilies, garlic and Sichuan pepper together.
- Add the roasted and peeled tomatoes and grind everything together.
- Once a fine paste is obtained, serve with coriander and chopped onion well mixed in.
Nutritional value per serving
- 305 AI
- 7.5g protein
- 55g carbs
- 2.7g fat