Sel Roti Recipe, the Nepalese celebration bread

Sebastien Chaneac

Sel roti is a Nepalese sweet ring-shaped bread, which is deep-fried, similar to a doughnut. It is usually prepared during Tihar (a Hindu festival in Nepal, similar to Diwali, celebrated usually in October time).

This is the recipe we learnt at the excellent Nepalese Cooking School in Kathmandu when we explored Nepal as a gay couple:

Ingredients for sel roti

  • 1kg of rice flour
  • 500 grams of wheat flour
  • water as required to make the dough liquid like
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons of sugar
  • 500 ml of vegetable oil for deep frying the bread
  • Spices: fenugreek, cardamon, cinnamon and clove:
Ingredients and Spices for sel roti celebration bread
Spices for sel roti Nepalese celebration sweet bread

How to make Sel Roti step by step

1. Mix the two flours with some water to make a dough. Knead it thoroughly and continue to add a little bit of water to make a liquidy dough, which is a little bit sticky:

The liquid like dough for sel roti
“What a pretty apron!”
Stefan showing the liquid-like dough for sel roti

2. In a grinder (stop – not the gay app!), grind together the cardamon, cinnamon, cloves and fenugreek and add this to the dough.

3. Add the sugar and baking powder to the dough.

4. Knead the dough thoroughly to mix in all the spices, sugar and baking powder.

5. Leave the dough at room temperature covered with a tea towel for around 3 hours.

6. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and put one small round pot at the bottom to give a round shape.

7. Take a handful of the dough in your hand and gently pour it in the pan to make a circular shape.  This is hard and takes some practice.

This video is from our Nepalese cooking class, where teacher Eanu showed Sebastien how it's meant to be done:

And the final result looks like this:

Stefan making Nepalese celebration bread
Bon appétit bien sur!
Travel advice for LGTBQ community

Advice for LGBTQ travellers to Nepal

Whilst Nepalese society is socially conservative, Nepal is one of the most LGBTQ friendly countries in Asia. In 2008, the Supreme Court required the government to pass an array of anti-discrimination laws and recently made steps towards recognising same-sex unions. Find out more in our interview with Tilak from Kathmandu about gay life in Nepal.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, we receive a small commission. This will never cost you extra and in many cases you receive a special discount. We appreciate your support!

Sebastien Chaneac

Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

5 thoughts on “Sel Roti Recipe, the Nepalese celebration bread”

  1. Hi! This was very helpful for my project. But I have a confusion. I did not know what was fenugreek and I asked my mom what it was. But she told me that she had never heard of putting it in Sel Roti. I am still not sure what it is and whether or not to put in Sel Roti. Could you please tell me what it is in Nepali?

    • Not sure if this helps, but on Wikipedia it says Fenugreek is: “Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an annual plant in the family Fabaceae, with leaves consisting of three small obovate to oblong leaflets”.

  2. Hi Sebastien,

    Just stumbled upon your article on Nepalese Sel Roti. Hey, you know more now about making a Sel roti. I am from Nepal and I have no Idea how you make it. the most challenging part is to make it round and perfect. Can you make it round?

    Great insight on one of the mandatory Diwali food.

    Keep on the good work.



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