Ever tried Churpi? it’s hard as rock, takes hours to chew, but somehow you’ll like it! It’s cheese of course but this one, will leave your jaw aching as it is very tough to chew. Churpi soften slightly as we work them making for a long lasting, low fat, cheesy experience that we all love!
• Made from cow or yak’s cheese, Churpi or Durkha originates in China, Tibet and Nepal. It is also very popular among the northeastern states as well. These finely cut, small inches of hard cheese packed in a plastic jar can be seen in many shops.
• It is made simply with milk, salt and lime and stays unspoilt for years without having to add preservatives or added flavour.
• It is prepared in a local dairy or at home from a material extracted out of buttermilk called sergem. The sergem is wrapped in cloth, usually jute bags, and pressed hard to get rid of water. Then, it dries out and becomes similar to cheese. Finally, in this cheese-like stage it is cut into pieces, and hung over the smoke to make it stone hard.
• For generations the people of the Himalayan highlands have been making this hard cheese. Living in the mountain regions is a tough call with scarcity of food and water and not to forget the harsh cold weather. Their rich component of essential fats and proteins in the cheese help to keep the body warm.
• Hard churpi that are 4 to 5 years old are usually called chhurpupu. If stored properly in yak skin (mongnang), hard churpi can be consumed even for 20 years.
• A curry and/or pickle is also made of churpi and is eaten with rice as a staple food in everyday meals. It is highly rich in protein and a great substitute for vegetables especially in mountains areas where food is scarce. Churpi is also sold as a dog food. So next time you see it, don’t hesitate to buy, it’s good for you.
Featured image courtesy: emulyankan.com