Chowela is a well known dish in Nepal, particularly within the Newar community of Kathmandu. It’s a chargrilled chicken, cut into pieces, marinated with herbs and spices, and tempered with mustard oil. It's served with beaten rice, pickles and a spicy soybean mix.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (25 votes)


  • 800 g chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, crushed
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3-4 small green chillies, chopped (or as many as desired)
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp ground Sichuan pepper (timur)
  • 1 pinch of ground black pepper
  • salt, as required
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 large red dried chillies

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Preheat a chargrill over medium-high heat. In a mixing bowl, combine chicken and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Chargrill for 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Set aside until warm, then cut into bite-size pieces.

In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, ginger, garlic, chillies, coriander, green onions, cumin, lemon juice and peppers. Season with salt.

Heat the mustard oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoky, add the fenugreek seeds and dried red chillies and fry until the fenugreek seed turn brown and fragrant, about 5-7 seconds.

Immediately pour the entire contents of the pan into the bowl of chicken, mixing quickly to combine.

Allow the chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes for the flavours to develop, then transfer to a serving dish and serve.



• Beaten rice is available from Nepali food shops. Check out our spicy tomato achar recipe.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto.