What is quinoa in Nepali? Is it Kodo, Junelo Makai or Chinu?

This is a discussion post: A discussion to know the truth.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is an ancient whole grain – getting popular among health conscious people. The grain is high in protein, iron, and fiber. The gluten-free grain also contain a perfect balance of all the nine amio acids that are essential for human nutrition. Quinoa is a good source of Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Manganese. One cup of cooked quinoa contain 25% more fiber and 60% more protein than a comparable amount of brown rice. It also has 15% fewer carbohydrates making it a perfect rice supplement.

What do Nepali people call this healthy grain?

Some say it is Kodo (कोदो) – which is not true because kodo is millet in English. Others call it Junelo (जुनेलो). Junelo is named Proso Millet. It looks more like corn than quinoa.

In fact, quinoa is not easy to find in Nepal. According to Aruna Upreti (in an article published in Republica Daily) seems people in Western Nepal (Karnali specially Mugu) call it Chinu (चिनु). The name might be different from place to place. Aruna writes, “People have become lazy. Since they get rice from the World Food Program, no one wants to grow millet, barley or quinoa (locally known as chinu). Here people are ashamed of eating locally produced food.”

Quinoa’s grains look similar to that of millet. In Nepal, rice used to be considered the grain of rich people. Poor people mostly relied on millet, corn and wheat. These days, the hierarchy has changed. Foods like millets are found to be healthier than rice.

Other popular grains grains with English and Nepali names:

  • Rice – Chamal (चामल)
  • Wheat – Gahun (गहुँ)
  • Corn – Makai (मकै)
  • Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) – faapar (फापर)
  • Barley (Hordeum vulgare) – Jau (जौ)
  • Oat (Avena sativa) – Jai (जई)
  • Rye – there is no Nepali name of rye.

Rice in Nepali

Rice is the most popular grain in Nepal. There are a lot of Nepali names associated with rice.

Rice in it’s cover (rice husk) is called Dhaan in Nepali (धान).

When the cover is removed and is ready to cook it is called Chamal (चामल)

When rice is steamed or cooked it is called Bhat (भात).

When rice is cooked in milk to make rice pudding it is called Khir (खीर).

When sticky rice, called Anadi rice (अनदी) is boiled in water with sugar (चिनी) or boiled sugarcane juice (खुदो) – it is called Latte (लट्टे), Chamre (चाम्रे) or Chichhar (चिच्चर). Tharu community cook it covered in banana leaves and bake it in coal, it is called Bhakkun (भत्कुन).

Oat in Nepali

Oat and rye are primarily grown in Western world. So they are popular in their original names – oat and rye. Actually barley, wheat, rye and oat look similar are closely related to each other.


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