Sinki (food)

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Sinki
Place of origin Nepal
Region or state Nepal, Darjeeling district, Sikkim,Bhutan
Main ingredients Radish that has been fermented by lactobacillus

Sinki (सिन्की) is a preserved vegetable, similar to gundruk. Gundruk is prepared from leafy vegetables but sinki is prepared from radish tap roots. To make this generations-old indigenous dish, aged radish slivers are pressed into a hole lined with bamboo and straw, then coffined by a cover of vegetation, rocks, wood and, finally, mud. After a month of bacterial curing, the resulting preserved vegetable is dried in the sun and stored to last a few years or more.[1]

Processing and Preparation[edit]

The process of making sinki starts by allowing the radishes to wilt for a few days. Then, the leafy tops are cut off and the radish tap-root sections are shredded. A dhiki may be used to break the radish usually if the amount is large. Instead of shredding, the radish is cut if the sinki is to be made into a pickle after fermentation. Meanwhile, a 2- or 3-foot (0.6- or 0.91-m) hole is dug, and a small fire is built at the bottom just before the storage period begins to warm it up.

After the hole is sufficiently hot, the fire is extinguished and the bottom is lined with bamboo and straw. On top of this goes the radishes, which then are pressed firmly with more vegetation, boards, rocks and mud to create a fairly impregnable barrier. 20–30 days is needed before the sinki is properly fermented by a series of lactic acids. Then, a final sun drying is needed before they can be eaten.

Consumption[edit]

A common dish that utilizes sinki is a simple soup made by first soaking the fermented radishes in water for about 10 minutes, while chopped vegetables like onion, tomato and chili peppers are sauteed in oil. The strained radish slivers then are fried up with the other vegetables, with just a little salt and turmeric powder. This soup, which is commonly served with white rice, is made by adding water and cooking the vegetables for another 10 minutes until all the ingredients are fully tender.

Sinki is also consumed as a pickle. To prepare the pickle, the sinki is not dried. Instead it is directly mixed with spices and bottled.

Sinki in folk culture[edit]

Sinki, just like gundruk or kinema is a popular food among the Nepali people both in India and Nepal. It has inspired folk rhymes and songs like:

"बाङ्गी बाङ्गी खुट्टिले सिन्कि खाँदौला, थाङ्ना भोटो नदेउ बजै नाङ्गै नाँचऔला ॥"

"मंग्लबारे हाटैमा आठानाको सियो, तेरो बाऊ लसुन पुडके सिन्कि बेच्दै थियो ॥"

See also[edit]

Gundruk

Kinema

References[edit]