The cross between a bread-like texture and dumpling-like shape is what makes this food item so interesting
Eat breakfast like a king, they say. However, people from Nepal don’t believe in this ideology. For them, mornings are not meant for lavish breakfast spreads. In fact, in most households, you’d find people following a mid-morning ritual, in which they pick a gwaramari from the nearby street shop and gulp it down with some tea. That’s the classic breakfast routine in Nepal.
Gwaramari is a kind of Nepali bread that is made with a puffy dough and is deep-fried until it turns golden brown. The name comes from the word ‘gwara’, which means round in Nepali, and ‘mari’, which refers to a traditional bread. This round-shaped bread is the quintessential breakfast item in the region, preferred with chutney and milk tea as the accompaniments.
What is the bread made with? The flour is combined with baking powder, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper. This results in a puffy dough that is thick and is left overnight. Next morning, the dough is rolled out into smaller balls, which are then deep-fried until they attain a golden-brown texture. The crispy exteriors complement the soft and moist interiors really well. The two most staple accompaniments that are served with this Newari bread are chutney and milk tea.
The warm bread is eaten in an interesting way - the balls are pressed at the edges and scooped into a bowl-like shape. This is then used to fill in the milk tea and eat and drink at the same time. A popular breakfast in the Kathmandu region of Nepal, you will find people grabbing their gwaramari and popping them into their mouths on their way to work.
This bread-like dumpling is a reflection of the importance of breakfast in Nepali culture. It isn’t treated as a lavish meal that needs to be decided each morning. Rather, quick fried bites like gwaramari take precedence on the dining table in the morning because it is treated more like a snack or tea-time fare. To make gwaramari at home, one only needs a few ingredients which are mixed together and stirred into a thick paste that is later dunked in hot oil and emerges as fried golden balls.
Other than gwaramari, a few other snack-like items that feature on the Newari breakfast table include sel roti and malpua. While the former is a savoury flatbread, the latter is a deep-fried sweet meat that is coated in sugar syrup. These morning staples can be found not just in households, but also in the tiny food stalls and shops on the streets late in the morning.