Yomari Punhi: Newari delicacy

Yomari, also called Yamari, is a delicacy and important part of Newari community. It is a steamed dumpling with outside layer of rice flour and an inner content of dark sweet thick liquid. The delicacy plays a very important role in Newaa society, and is a key part of the festival of Yomari punhi. According to some, the triangular shape of the yamari is a symbolical representation of one half of the shadkona, the symbol of Saraswati and wisdom.

The making technique of Yomari itself is interesting. It is different in dough preparation, sweet liquid making and packaging. Special classes are arranged for newbies who want to try making and eating Yomari. Normally the sessions takes around 2 hours.

The name Yamari comes from two Nepal Bhasa words, “ya:” meaning “to like” and “mari” meaning “delicacy”. So, literally, it is a very popular food being loved by rest of the world and turning into fast food. Now the packaged Yomari are available in selected supermarkets in Kathmandu.

The Yomari punhi festival is said to have started from Panchal Nagar known as Panauti in present day. As per the tales, couple Suchandra and Krita experimented with fresh yield of rice from their field which evolved as Yomari. The new delicacy was eventually distributed among the villagers. The new shaped food was appreciated by all and named “Yomari” soon then after.

The myth further states that on the same day the couple offered the god of wealth, Kubera, who was passing by in a disguise, the new delicacy. Following this, Kubera disclosed his real identity and blessed the couple with wealth. He also declared that whoever will prepare Yamari in the form of gods and goddesses on the full moon of December and observe four days of devotion to god, will no longer remain poor.