In our latest Nibble video, Katmandu native Hari Prasad Lamichhane talks about popular items—from sweet hog plum to a dizzying array of dal—found in his store, New Bombay. Plus, a recipe for Tomato Timur Pickle!
Now that you know where to buy timur—one of the key spices in Nepali cuisine—here’s a bit more detailed information on the exotic ingredient. Also known as Szechuan pepper and Nepali pepper, timur are actually dried berries from a prickly variety of ash (Zanthoxylum alatum) that grows in the Himalayas. They may look like cloves, yet the flavor is citrusy and peppery—and when you bite directly into timur, you will find it numbs your tongue slightly! Intrigued? Okay, here’s a wonderful recipe using timur that comes to us from Bimala Thapa, another Katmandu native now living in Union Square.
Golbheda ko aachar with timur and dhaniya (Tomato Timur Pickle/Chutney)
This aachar makes a great accompaniment to nearly any Nepali or Indian meal; it also makes a great appetizer when served with chapati or naan.
3 plum tomatoes
1 green chili
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 crushed garlic clove (not too big)
4-5 timur (available at Bombay Market, 359 Somerville Ave.)
several sprigs of cilantro
1 tablespoon oil (mustard oil is nice but others work fine, too)
Cut tomatoes in half and place them in a skillet, flat side down. Add chili. Cook for a few minutes, until tomatoes are half cooked. (In the summer, grill the tomatoes instead for great flavor.) Grind timur with a mortar and pestle. Put tomatoes, chile, timur and all other ingredients in a food processor and pulverize. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with any Nepali or Indian meal; or serve with chapati or naan as an appetizer.