leaf plates

Did you eat momo or any food in plates made from leaves.

Ever wondered how these plates are made.!!!

A little background for fulfilling your quest.

Tapari – is a lightly curved plate made by stitching several saal leaves together.
Duna – is a medium-size bowl, either circular or rectangular and can be used to hold semi-liquid objects.
Bota – is usually made by using a single saal leaf, stitched together into small bowl. These (Tapari, Duna and Bota) are the disposable, multipurpose leaf plates and bowls made by stitching Saal ko Paat(leaves) with a small bamboo sticks. Saal (Shorea robusta) are  commonly found tree species in the Terai regions of Nepal. The leaves of these plants are used for making leaf plates. The shiny fresh green leaves are very flexible and have a lot of moisture, making it easy to twist, squeeze, and shape into plates without breaking the leaves.  (edited from taste of nepal)

Here is some photographs showing the the process of making duna tapari.

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A woman from Arun Khola area of Nawalparasi district of  Nepal, making tapari at home. If we walk along the communities of that area, we can see many people making duna taparai  sitting at their house. The area is rich in saal forest and it has been one of the source of income for many people.

People use the fresh leaf plates and bowls for many festival feast, religious rituals and different ceremony. While the dry saal leaf plates are mostly used for picnics, restaurant use and at the street food stalls as a disposable plates.

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The leaves are collected from the nearby forest. The Nawalparasi area forest diversity and according to the local, saal tree is abundant here.

These collected leaves are stiched accourding to the need. For making duna two leaves are stitched. For making tapari around 12 leaves are used. It cannot be stiched with randomness, there is certain process to be followed. I still need to learn the process for making tapari but believe me, the process to make duna is easy :).

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A stitched leaf, commonly called as lapha, used for making tapari in the mashine.

The word lapha is used to denote the leaf which is holded by the sinka ( small bamboo sticks) and ready for the processing in the machine. The term is used for pre-proceeded both duna and tapari. Above image is the for the tapari while for duna two leaves are holded together by sinka.  After that the lapha is sundried for some days.

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The storage of the lapha, these are used for making duna and tapari 

After collection of these leaves, these leaves are put in the machine. Actually machine has the platform to change the shape of the leaves by the action of heat. Here is short video on the live duna tapari making process.

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The head fix the shapes of the duna or tapari
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In as stitched leaves, and out the beautiful duna or tapari ready to use.

The shape and size are fixed in the machine and the duna or tapari or bota are made accordingly. Its like keeping the leaves in the lock with suitable size and angle and getting the required leaf plate with expected design and look.

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So what shall I eat in these leaf plates ???

These photos were taken in the Kawosoti and Arun khola area of Nawalparasi district. These photos were taken during the field visit on the assessment of the status of green enterprise in the Nawalparasi district which was supported by WWF.

People used to/still make duna tapari at home. This process of making duna tapari by the use of machine is new to me, so I thought to share with you in the hope that this process and mechanism is new to you too.

Some additional photos from Arun khola area in Nawalparasi

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Just enjoying the work with the family members in front yard of the house
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I was watching them and they were able to make these duna tapari in front of us 🙂
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Oops, I forgot to take the picture of me taking momo in the duna, so i downloaded from the google image 🙂

Enjoy 🙂

edit 1: some additional photos from the Arun khola area 

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5 thoughts on “leaf plates

  1. I found your post to be very interesting. Thank you for sharing! I know another blogger who is interested in making unique objects (although he cannot access saal trees) and so I am going to forward this post to him. I looked up the tree to learn more about it; do you know, can the fruit be eaten? I read about them being used for oil.

    1. Thank you for forwarding the post :).
      Saal trees are easily available in the subtropical climate zone. I haven’t myself used but it is said that the seeds and fruits have Ayurvedic medicinal value and local people use it. But I myself have seen the resin of the tree used as the incense in many religious places of Nepal.

  2. Leaf from other plant could be used to make DUNA, TAPARI and Bouta. Saal leafs are idle but other leafs could be used. In Nepal other tree leafs are also used where there is no Saal . Those are Dharne, Bharlo tree. The quality of the leaf should be bit bigger inn size, easily folding while making Duna and Tapari.
    This is good , since it is disposable, naturally available.
    Thank you for sharing this useful article.

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