Jan 30, 2017

Momo ko Achar (Nepali Chutney for Dumplings)

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Momos are a savory dumpling of Tibetan origin that are popular in Nepal. Momo ko achar is the spicy tomato based dipping sauce traditionally served with momos. This recipe combines fire roasted vegetables with earthy cumin, bright coriander, zesty red chili, and the surprising zing of Szechuan peppercorns. The result is an amazing blend with a uniquely Nepali taste! Serve as an authentic accompaniment to steaming hot momos or as a delicious dip for potstickers. 

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My Nepali maid taught me how to make this chutney or dip. I've tasted several different versions of this sauce across Nepal but hers is still the best! I guessed what was in the chutney but didn't know Nepalis charred the tomatoes, bell pepper, chilis, garlic, and ginger. Fire roasting certainly makes a huge difference in flavor! 


For truly authentic momo ko achar the vegetables would be roasted on the embers of a traditional Nepali stove called a chulo. Chulos come in various sizes and configurations but are generally made of clay and wood fired. The lovely lady in the above photo has one of the newer indoor models which have a chimney built along the wall. If you look closely you can see her pots are coated with mud on the bottom to prevent blackening and scorching from the fire.  I am told nothing can compare to the taste of food slow-cooked upon a chulo but I use my gas stove for more timely results. I char the vegetables on the gas burners of my stove but you can get similar results if you use the broiler in an oven. I wondered if the spices would be dry roasted but traditionally they aren't.

Nepali timur or Szechuan peppercorns
Please be advised that this chutney is HOT.  It's not just the green chilies that are spicy hot. Nepali timur or Szechuan peppercorns and red chili powder adding their zing too. So there's three kinds of heat going on in this sauce! You may leave the chilies out for less heat and swap the traditional timur for tamer black peppercorns - but momos are meant to be eaten with tears streaming down your face!

Ingredients:
3 large tomatoes
1 bell pepper/capsicum, destemmed and deseeded
2-3 green chilies/hari mirch
4 cloves of garlic/lahsun, peeled
1&1/2 inch piece of ginger/adrakh, peeled
1 C cilantro/dhania, chopped
1 tsp cumin/jeera, ground
1 tsp coriander/dhania seeds, ground
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1/2 tsp timur/Szechuan peppercorns (or ground black pepper)
1 TBS oil of choice
Salt to taste

Here's what to do:
1) Roast the tomatoes, bell pepper, green chilies, garlic, and ginger until blackened. Either put them over an open flame or cut them in half and put them under a broiler until the skin blackens and splits. I do this on the gas burners of my stove but traditionally this would be done on the coals of a cooking fire.

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2) Allow roasted vegetables to cool completely. 

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3) When the roasted vegetables have completely cooled peel away the blackened skin. Remove seeds and stem from bell pepper. Place roasted vegetables, cilantro, cumin, coriander, Kashmiri mirch, timur, oil, and one teaspoon salt in a blender, mixie, or food processor. Grind until mixture is smooth.

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4) Grind until mixture is smooth. Salt to taste and serve with piping hot momos or potstickers. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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Helpful Hints-
Other authentic variations of this recipe blend in a tablespoonful of dry roasted sesame seeds or dry roasted peanuts.

Jan 25, 2017

Mughlai Garam Masala

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In Hindi, masala refers to a mixture of spices and garam means hot or warming in the Ayurvedic sense. Mughlai garam masala is a traditional mixture of cardamom, cassia bark, cloves, black pepper, and nutmeg added. It adds a subtle aromatic flavor to dishes and is considered a hallmark of classical north Indian cooking.


Garam masala is used as a finishing touch in many Subcontinental cuisines just as ground black pepper is used in Western cooking. Recipes for garam masala vary from region to region and even household to household! This classic recipe for garam masala in royal Mughal style is adapted from the famed chef Julie Sahni's brilliant cookbook, Classic Indian Cooking. Differing in the lavish use of expensive spices this particular blend is not often commercially available. If you were to purchase the ingredients for this garam masala at a western supermarket or specialty spice store the cost would be exorbitant. However, if you buy the whole spices at your local Indian grocer and grind them yourself, this blend will cost mere pennies!

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The flavor of this garam masala is sweeter and more delicate compared to most ready made blends too. I like to use this recipe when cooking the rich cream, milk, or meat-based dishes of north Indian cuisines. According to Chef Sahni, the spices in this blend are so naturally fragrant and easily digested that dry roasting them isn't necessary. I chose green cardamoms for this batch but using black or brown cardamoms results in a deeper, smoky flavor. I also used cassia bark rather than cinnamon sticks because it's traditional and I prefer it's peppery bite over the sweeter cinnamon. Anyway you choose to customize this blend it's sure to add a little Mughal splendor to everything you make!

Ingredients:
1/3 cup (about 200) green cardamom/elaichi pods or 1/2 C (about 60) black cardamoms/badi elaichi
2 three inch pieces of cassia bark/dalchini or cinnamon sticks
1 TBS whole cloves/laung
1 TBS black peppercorns/kali mirch
1&1/2 tsp grated nutmeg/jaiphal (optional)

Here's what to do:
1) Crush cassia bark or cinnamon sticks with a kitchen mallet, rolling pin, or belan to break it into small pieces. (If you have little bits and bobs of cassia bark or cinnamon stick about this is a good place to use them.)

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2) Combine all the spices except nutmeg and grind to a fine powder in a coffee grinder, a spice mill, or a mixie.
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3) Mix in the grated nutmeg, if desired. Store in an airtight container away from heat and light. Use within three months. Makes about 3/4C

Helpful Hints:
Chef Sahni advises removing the seeds from the cardamom pods and discarding the skins. I disagree, the skin of green cardamoms and black cardamoms have flavor. I can't bear to throw the skins away! Anyway, I use the whole pod when I grind my masalas but peel away if you must. (But don't throw away those skins, put them in your masala chai mix!)

If you are interested in trying other regional variations of this classic spice blend try Punjabi Garam Masala, Nepali Garam Masala, or Kashmiri Garam Masala.

Portrait of Mughal Emperor Zahir ud-Din Mohammad (Babur), founder of the Mughal empire
date 1630AD, artist unknown

Jan 23, 2017

Ingredients: Jimbu, Jambu, Jamboo, Jhiku-cha

jimbu, jambu, jamboo, jhiku-cha, himlayan, herb, allium, nepal, przewalskianum, hypsistum, dal, himalaya, dried, mustang, upper mustang, thakali,

Jimbu, jambu, jamboo, or  jhiku-cha is a dried herb used in Himalayan regions. It is the dried stalks and leaves of two species of wild onions and looks like dried grass. When fried in ghee or oil the dried herb has a pungent flavor much like garlic or shallots. After tempering in this manner it is traditionally used to flavor lentils, pickles, meat, salads, and vegetables.

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 Allium przewalskianum 
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Allium hypsistum
Allium hypsistum and Allium przewalskianum are the two perennial species of the onion family that are dried to make jimbu. The plants thrive in the sandy soils and cool arid climates of the Himalayas from 2,000m to 4,800m in altitude. Both are small species slightly over a foot in height and are found from Central Asia to China. Dense umbels of rose-purple flowers and fibrous orange-colored bulbs are distinctive of both species too.

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A valley in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal, formerly known as the Kingdom of Lo

The high altitude Upper Mustang region of Nepal is where most jimbu is harvested.
The wild herb is seasonal and is foraged between June and September. The leaves and stems are then allowed to air-dry in sheds. The Thakali people of Nepal inhabit the Upper Mustang and the sale of jimbu is a significant part of their annual household income. About 3288 kilograms of dried jimbu was estimated to be collected in Upper Mustang during 2004. Most of the land in the high desert Mustang region lacks vegetation. The sandy soils are prone to erosion by wind, snow, and rain. Allium hypsistum and Allium przewalskianum grow in soil-binding clumps which help to prevent this erosion. Unfortunately over harvesting of these wild plants has been a problem with Allium przewalskianum listed as a vulnerable species in the 1990s.

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Here in Pokhara we have a large population of Thakali folks so you'll often see jimbu in large sacks at markets in early Fall. If kept cool, dry, and out of direct sunlight jimbu stores well for about a year.

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In the past few years I've even seen jimbu packaged at the local department store. Priced at a little over a dollar for 25 grams it's not cheap but not exorbitantly expensive compared to spices with similar flavor such as hing/asafoetida. Jimbu smells like dried onions to me.


So as you can imagine we have quite a few Thakali restaurants around here. We have other regional specialty restaurants such as Newari and Gurung too. One of the most famous Thakali dishes is made with black lentils called kalo maas. Kalo maas is a black lentil grown at lower hilly elevations. The Thakali also grow a red bean at higher elevations that is much like a pinto bean in flavor called Simi. The Thakali prefer to split their lentils before cooking so that's how you'll see them for sale at markets.

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Split black lentils or urad dal, called kalo maas in Nepali
I've tried cooking this local kalo maas a few times with no success. You can see how tiny these split lentils are in the photo. They are riddled with tiny pieces of gravel that are about the same color and size as the lentil bits. Traditionally, one rinses the kalo maas vigorously then spreads it out on a plate to laboriously sort out all the gravel, twigs, and whatnot. Inevitably you miss a few gravelly bits and some unsuspecting diner bites down on a piece of gravel. NOT PLEASANT. Anyway, after you've sorted your lentils you boil them with a pinch of turmeric until creamy. Mine were more like gluey.

jimbu, jambu, jamboo, jhiku-cha, himlayan, herb, allium, nepal, przewalskianum, hypsistum, dal, himalaya, dried, mustang, upper mustang, thakali,

The jimbu and other spices used such as dry red chili, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, and garlic are then fried in smoking hot ghee in a technique called jhannu in Nepali. This same tempering technique is called chaunk in Hindi, tadka in Punjabi, and baghaar in Urdu. The tempered spices and hot ghee are poured onto the boiled lentils making a distinctive sizzling sound.

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The jhannu or tempering technique is what gives this dish it's uniquely aromatic, garlicky, buttery and smoky flavor. The fried jimbu and I'm guessing the fried fenugreek seeds also lend the grayish cooked lentils a rather peculiar green cast.

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Here's a typical thali from a local Thakali restaurant. This is the Thakali version of the traditional Nepali meal of dal-bhat-tarkaari or lentils-rice-vegetables. In the lower right corner is the dal or lentils made with jimbu. The bhat or rice is in the center and composes most of the meal. The tarkaari or vegetables are the sauteed greens and the yellow potatoes you see on the upper right as well as the bit of raw vegetables on the upper left. (The greens and potatoes were probably made with jimbu too.) The bits of meat in red sauce on the bottom center are a special treat and not usually an everyday occurrence. Just in case anything is too spicy or you're having a bit of tummy trouble a little bowl of yogurt or curd like you see on the upper left is usually served with all meals also.

That's all I know about the traditional and uniquely Himalayan herb called jimbu. Another uniquely Nepali spice is timur which you can read about here. Hope you enjoyed my little essay and keep calmly currying on,
Bibi


Jan 18, 2017

Kashmiri Rajma Gogji (Spiced Beans with Turnips)

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In Kashmiri, rajma means beans and gogji means turnips. We're talking true Kashmiri comfort food in this hearty dish of delicately spiced beans and tender turnips. A truly authentic recipe that can easily be made vegetarian or vegan. Pair this traditional dish with heaps of steamed rice for a delicious meal on a chilly day. 

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Turnips or gogji are a favorite Winter treat in Kashmir. The turnips you see in the photo above are grown in our garden from Kashmiri seeds. As temperatures drop in the valley root vegetables become a plentiful Winter staple. I have never seen anyone get so excited about turnips as my Kashmiri family. The Kashmiris have many dishes combining turnips with everything from lotus roots (nadroo) to their beloved mutton. Pairing beans with turnips isn't a combination I would have ever thought of but it works! 

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The dish starts by frying the turnips in salted oil. This is an step many recipes miss. The resulting caramelized salt crust really gives the turnips a bit of extra flavor, texture, and authenticity. The browned turnips are then set aside while a masala base of traditional spices is prepared. A mutton bone is often included in this base for extra flavor. (If you don't have a mutton bone or wish to make this dish vegetarian or vegan just leave it out. There's more than enough flavor in this dish without it.) Then the beans are stewed until soft with the masala making a rich gravy. The fried turnips are then returned to the pot for a final simmer until rendered deliciously tender. Traditional Kashmiri rajma are a tiny variety of kidney beans quite similar to the beans used in the famed Creole dish of red beans and rice. Here I'm using a local Nepali variety of red beans that have a similar rustic flavor and soft texture. Regular kidney beans or pinto beans work well with this dish too. In Kashmir, heaps of steamed rice are served with rajma gogji as well as other Winter dishes like haak maaz(collards with mutton), monji haak (kohlrabi greens), tao mooj (fried daikon radish chutney), and baby potatoes (dum aloo).

Ingredients: 
1&1/2 C dry kidney or pinto beans soaked in 4 cups water with 1 tsp salt for at least 4 hours up to overnight then drained and rinsed (or two 14 oz cans of kidney or pinto beans with liquid)
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee
1/2 C onion, diced
1 mutton bone (optional) 
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste or 1/2 tsp asafoetida/hing
2 brown cardamoms/kali elaichi, bruised in mortar and pestle
3 green cardamoms/elaichi, bruised in mortar and pestle
4 cloves/laung
2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
2 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1 tsp dry ginger powder/soonth
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
1/2kg or 1lb turnips, peeled and cut into approximately the same size

Here's what to do: 
1) Peel turnips and mix with 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl and set aside. Some liquid will come out of the turnips. Heat oil or ghee in pressure cooker with 1 teaspoon salt or deep, heavy bottomed pot for 7 minutes. 

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2) Rinse salt off turnips and pat dry. Fry turnips in salted oil until browned on all sides. Set fried turnips aside.

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rajma, gogji, shalgam, turnips, turnip, kashmir, kashmiri, beans, kidney, pinto, red, vegan, vegetarian, spicy, indian, authentic, traditional,

3) To the same hot oil add diced onion and mutton bone if using.  Cook for 5-7 minutes or until onions are just turning brown. Add garlic paste or asafoetida to onions and fry for 2 minutes stirring well. Add brown cardamoms, green cardamoms, cloves, and cumin seeds to fried onion mixture. Stir well and fry for 2 minutes.

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4) Add soaked or canned beans, ground fennel, Kashmiri mirch, dry ginger powder, and turmeric to fried onion and spice mixture. Add enough water so that beans are covered by 2 inches of liquid in pot. If using pressure cooker and soaked beans: seal lid and allow to steam until beans are tender. If using pressure cooker and canned beans: seal lid and allow to steam for one whistle. If using soaked beans and stock pot: bring to a simmer and cook until beans are tender, top up water if necessary. If using stock pot and canned beans: allow to simmer covered for about 20 minutes stirring frequently.

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5) When beans are tender add fried turnips to them. Allow mixture to simmer for 10 minutes or until turnips are cooked through. Add 1/2 cup water if liquid gets too low or mixture begins to stick or scorch. For a thicker gravy take a large spoon and smash some of the beans against the side of the pot. The dish is done when turnips and beans are to cooked to desired tenderness. Salt to taste, garnish as desired and serve with mounds and mounds of steamed rice!

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Jan 16, 2017

Not so Mellow Yellow...



And so the Great Remodel began. After the trim on outside of the house was painted we started with painting the kitchen. Now we've lived in this house for about 10 years and have never painted. Actually the house needed painting inside and out when we moved in but we were busy and such and so forth. Above you see one of the painters tinting plaster to patch the hairline cracks in our kitchen from the April and May 2015 earthquakes.


This is the biggest crack in the decorative archway that joins the kitchen and dining area after being patched. Yes, it is most definitely YELLOW. That shade I chose is aptly called "Dizzy Daffodil." As you can see the kitchen and dining area were a pastel mint green. I hate pastels. That shade of green reminds me of the county hospital where I grew up that hadn't been repainted nor remodeled since 1952. I've always wanted a yellow kitchen and I certainly have one now!


Here's the decorative archway after being patched and painted. Dizzy daffodils indeed! You can see one of the large windows in the dining area in this photo. Large windows like that are throughout our home and are very unusual in Nepali houses. We really like all the natural light they let into our house. Unfortunately they are rather leaky, creaky homemade sort of windows that barely keep the wind and rain out. If you look closely you can see there are horizontal bars across all the windows. Those are to keep out robbers and monkeys. I'm not kidding about the monkeys. There are marauding bands of macaques in our town who will come into your home and steal food, pee, generally destroy things, and possibly even bite you. Those bars would really only slow down a determined monkey though.


A close up of the beautiful green marble that covers the floor, window sills, and counter tops in the kitchen. Can you imagine how costly it would be in the US to have marble floors and countertops like that? The marble floors in our house are beautifully matched and bookmarked too. I don't think marble floors are a good idea in a home though, they are dangerously slippery when wet. If you look closely at the photos of the painters you can see they use no masking tape or drop-cloths. That's right, spatters and drips go everywhere! I started putting newspapers down under the painters after I saw what they did to the kitchen floor. 


Here's a shot of the kitchen being painted. That table the paint bucket is setting on is my potting bench from the backyard. The painters brought no ladders nor step-stools with them - just brushes, plaster, and paint. There's another very unusual big window letting lots of light into the kitchen as you can see. The sole light fixture is a bare fluorescent tube by the painter's head. The wires sticking out of the wall in the top right corner are potentially for another light fixture. The sink in the lower right corner is so tiny it's completely useless for anything other that washing your hands or rinsing a teacup. The round hole in the wall to the right of the painter's head is ventilation for the stove. The kitchen was designed for the sort of cooktop you see pictured below. We'd call that a portable camp stove in the US but that is what is most commonly used in kitchens in India and Nepal.


These cooktops are available in a variety of finishes and configurations featuring 2, 3, 4, or even 5 burners. The gas cylinder that powers the stove is stored in a concrete lined cabinet or shoved under counter below it. The hose or piping that connects the stove to the gas cylinder is simply left dangling over the counter. The cooktop was meant to be placed in the tiled corner beneath the hole. I have a freestanding "Western style" Italian made range so I use this corner for the rice cooker and storing the huge stock pots required for making Kashmiri noon chai or salt tea.


Here's where the dishes get washed. Thats my maid washing dishes right outside the kitchen door. A curbed outdoor concrete tub with a single faucet like this is typically where dishes get done in South Asia. Modern mansions as well as simple shacks have this same setup for cleaning kitchen utensils. No matter what the weather the dishes get done outside. This is also where we used to wash our clothes before we got a washing machine too.


And here's the paint samples for the rest of the house. The bedrooms and bathrooms are all that dreary pastel mint green while the hallway and living room are what I call "puke pink." My Swiss friend Cyn (whom is a professional decorator and upholsterer) has brilliantly named this pink, "The color that doesn't go with anything." For some reason this shade of pink is often chosen for rental properties. I chose the top shade called "Clean Khaki" for the hallway and living room since we have dark brown wood furniture and bookshelves throughout. Plus everything ends up khaki-colored here with the ubiquitous dust. I was thinking about the bottom shade of gray for the bathrooms. The tile in the bathrooms is a streaky pale gray but methinks that paint sample looks too much like bare concrete for my taste.

Anywho,
The house is completely torn asunder moving our stuff to paint. Cooking and blogging while all this hoo-haw is going on has been quite the challenge! The painter's boss drops them off at 9 am every morning with no food, tea, or even water.  So I'm cooking tea, snacks and lunch for them too. I'm certain it will al be worth it though. The Sheikh (my beloved husband) says we can't move for another 10 years after all this hassle and expense. Hah!
Stay tuned, 
Bibi

Jan 11, 2017

Tropical Nasties: Asian Hornets

Pure Evil!!!! aka the Lesser Banded hornet (Vespa affinis)
Last September I had an unfortunate run-in with a nest of Lesser Banded hornets (Vespa affinis). I had let a wooden crate weather in the sun over the Summer by leaning it against the garden wall. When I went to pick up the crate I unknowingly disturbed one of these:
Nest of the Lesser Banded hornet (Vespa affinis)
Yes, it was a not so proverbial hornet's nest. And as the proverb goes out came an onslaught of hornets which attacked me. Hornets, like many social wasps, can mobilize the entire nest to sting in defense by releasing an attack pheromone. Any materials that come in contact with this pheromone such as clothes, skin, and dead prey or hornets, can also trigger an attack. (Other aromatic chemical compounds such as banana or apple flavorings can mimic the effects of this pheromone too.) Bibi unwittingly disturbed the nest and thus became the target of a hornet attack. The entire neighborhood was treated to Bibi running and screaming blue murder across the yard. 

The unbarbed and nondetachable hornet's sting
Hornets can and do sting repeatedly. Hornets do not die after stinging like bees because their stingers are not barbed and therefore are not pulled out of their bodies. I can attest to this as I was stung 15 times. Rolling on the ground, removing articles of clothing, and soaking myself with a hose did not deter these damned things. My husband finally beat them off me with a towel. 

Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter and active component mediating pain in hornet venom
Hornet stings are more painful to humans than wasp or bee stings. I can attest to this also. Out of all the creatures I have been stung by (bees, yellow jackets, fire ants, catfish barbels, and various species of mosquitoes), the hornet stings were the most painful. Insect venoms are a complex mix of proteins, peptides, enzymes and other noxious compounds. Hornet venoms differ from bee and wasp venom by containing about 5% acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that’s also produced by our bodies, but in hornet venom it stimulates pain receptors thus heightening pain. Cytotoxic enzymes in hornet venom such as hyaluronidase and phospholipids A and B dissolve cell proteins allowing further penetration of venom into tissues. Serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline are present in hornet venom increasing pain and irritation too. Various histaminic compounds and other kinins contribute to pain and itching in the odious chemical cocktail of hornet venom. To me it felt as if a white hot nails were being driven into my flesh for about nine hours. The sting sites swelled to about the size of fried eggs being about four inches across and about an inch high. The handful of cetirizine, diphenhydramine, and ibuprofen I took did not help at all. I could not walk on my right foot that had been stung twice nor bend my right knee which had five stings on it for ten hours.  

Typical pockmarks from hornet stings, the cytotoxic venom has dissolved the flesh around the sting
The next day the cytotoxic and histaminic effects of the hornet venom really kicked in. Although the pain subsided I was left pockmarked and itching like crazy. The miserable swelling and itching continued for about a week and was not responsive to antihistamines nor NSAIDS. After about two weeks the swelling and itching reduced and I was left with fifteen little round scars. 
The Giant Asian hornet (Vespa mandarinia) or 'yak-killer'
Asian hornets cause many human fatalities worldwide. Here in Nepal they cause about 10 to 20 deaths annually. (Three children died in western Nepal last Summer as a result of hornet stings received while chasing monkeys out of a cornfield.) The Giant Asian hornet (Vespa mandarinia) is thought to cause 30 to 50 human deaths yearly in Japan. Between July and September 2013, hornet stings caused the death of 42 people in China and over 1,500 injuries. The fatalities are not all from allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock. At high enough levels hornet venom can cause multiple organ failure. Renal dialysis is the only way to remove the venom and it's toxic byproducts when they reach such high levels. 
Lesser Banded hornet killing a honeybee (via Wikicommons)
Asian hornets kill beneficial insects such as honeybees and preying mantis to feed their nesting larvae. I've seen Asian hornets hanging around the local fruit stands simply to kill the bees the ripe fruit attracts. I've also seen Asian hornets hanging around dead animals preying on the numerous flies. Supposedly Asian hornets eat ripe and rotting fruit but I've not see them do it. Apparently Asian hornets have spread as far as France (via a shipment of Chinese pottery) recently and have been spotted in the UK threatening domestic bees and humans.

Buh bye hornets!
So Bibi developed an eradication program of her own. In Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia hornet larvae are made into a tasty stir-fry and adult insects are used to to flavor alcoholic drinks. Bibi decided to go for a full tilt boogie BARBECUE!!! That's right, some paper rubbish piled onto the nest and the wooden crate, a pint of kerosene, and a match,  ~et voila!~ it was hornet flambée! Nasty bee and baby killers gone forever from Bibi's yard!

You can come out now, Baacha Khan. Mom is ok.
About all you can do to prevent hornet attacks is avoid them. Asian hornets breed during August and September so are likely to be more aggressive during these months. In general they will not attack you unless you disturb their nest, kill one of them, or are wearing a scent that attracts them. Even though the nests are about the size of a soccer ball they can be hard to see as they can be located underground in deserted rodent dens, amongst brush piles, dangling from canebrakes, up high in eaves, or even behind crates as Bibi found out. It is recommended not to run or flail your arms if attacked but rather walk calmly away. (Easier said than done.) If you are allergic to bees or wasps have your epinephrine injection at the ready if stung. If you incur more than ten stings it is recommended you seek medical attention. If you suffer 75 or more stings you are probably going to need renal dialysis and a few months' hospitalization.

Cheerio,
Bibi
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