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How to Make Churpi Durkha (दुर्खा / छुर्पी)

What is Durkha / Churpi

Durkha or Chhurpi is a milk based food eaten in Nepal. Durkha is usually made in the mountain region of Nepal. Yak milk is usually preferred to make Dhurkha. Durkha have different types. Some durkha are soft, some hard but it is one of the favorite part of Nepali food. Durkha made in Illam is one of the famous types of durkha. Actually female Yak is called Nak in Nepali but Yak is used in English for both the sexes.

How to Make Churpi Durkha

Making of durkha has its unique process. A special type of three chambered wooden drum called Shoptu (local language) is used. This drum is made from the bark of special tree Thuja. Drum is filled with milk and corked tight. The wooden lid used as the cork is called Dup.

Traditional Utensils (common vessels and wooden spatulas can be used)

  • Three chambered wooden drum called Shoptu
  • Wooden Lid
  • Strong wooden stirrer Kelu
  • Chhurpi
  • Bamboo sieve is known as Chergang
  • A piece of cotton cloth

Ingredients

  • Yak Milk
  • Lime, butter milk, lemon or anything containing lactic acid

Method

  • Boil Milk
  • Add key lime, crab apple fruit, fitkiri (Alum), Mohi (buttermilk) or any other sour fruits’s juice as lactic acid to the milk.
  • Stir milk with strong wooden stirrer Kelu.
  • Stir the boiling milk continuously.
  • As the milk start boiling a thick layer of butter starts to form in the milk.
  • Extract the butters and it keep aside (it is not used to make durkha) while let the milk boiling continuously.
  • After 2 to 3 hours of boiling the milk, white cheese starts forming.
  • Separate this white cheese with the help of large bamboo sieve called Chergang and spread in the separate piece of cotton cloth.
  • Tie the cloth and press hard to drain excess water out. (few hours of draining makes the cheese hard)
  • Cut the cheese into small pieces and dry under the sun or in shade or over a wood fire oven.
  • When it get dried, the product is Durkha or chhurpi.

This type of Chhurpi becomes very hard and having a low moisture content. These durkha or churpi can be stored for a number of years. Chhurpi is sweet to taste and chewy. Churpi is used as local gum or Durkha.

Types of chhurpi

  • Hard Chhurpi
  • Soft chhurpi
  • Chhur singba or Chhur mingba
  • Chhurpupu
  • Marchang

Hard Chhurpi

Hard Chhurpi or Durkha is prepared out of yak milk. Generally, centrifugation separates the cream from milk. Fitkiri (Alum) or Mahi (buttermilk) is added as lactic acid. After filtration, the curd is wrapped tightly with a cloth and cured at room temperature (15–20°C) for 2–3 days under pressure of heavy stones. The cheese is sliced and allowed to dry in shade or over a wood fire oven. This type of Chhurpi becomes very hard and having low moisture content, can be stored for a number of years.

Soft Churpi

Soft Durkha or churpi is made out of cow milk. It is softer than yak churpi. Preparation of soft chupri is same as the preparation of yak churpi.

Soft chhurpi is an excellent source of protein and substitute for vegetables in the mountains. As curry soft chhurpi prepared by cooking it in oil along with onions, tomato and chilies, edible ferns, locally called ‘sauney ningro’ (Diplazium polypodiodes) and ‘kali ningro’ (Diplazium sp.).

This curry is eaten with rice. Achar’ or pickle is also made by mixing it with chopped cucumber, radish and chilies. Soft chhurpi soup is also consumed as a substitute for dhal. Soft Chhurpi can be bought at every other local shop in Nepal. Locally rural women are found selling soft churpi packing them in the leaves of fig plant and then tied loosely by straw.

Chhur singba or Chhur mingba

The freshly prepared chhurpi is known as chhur singba or chhur mingba. After fermentation of milk by adding the extract of crab apple fruits (thung), Key lime. It is the paneer like product made from yak milk.

Chhurpupu

The churpi, as old as 4 to 5 years is called chhurpupu. The churpi sealed and stored in yak skin (mongnang) can be used even for 3-20 yrs. Chhurpupu is expensive. Culturally it is one of the family prestiges having the oldest chhurpupu. Chhurpupu is also used to cure stomach pain. A small quantity (about 5-10 gm) of chhurpupu is mixed with the beverage made of barley or finger millet and given to the person suffering from stomach ache. In some places didhes made of chhutpupu can also be found. Marchang is one of the popular dish made from chhurpupu and found in the Himalayan region.

Marchang

Marchang is a dish made from chhurpupu. To make Marchang, Chhurpupu is fried in yak ghee to remove the unpleasant odor. Kongpu flour or finger millet flour is added to it and mixed properly.

(References and Sources: Book by: Jyoti Prakash Tamang. Himalayan Fermented Foods: Microbiology, Nutrition and Ethnic values)

Chhurpi making technology

The commercial Chhurpi makers prepare the product in a batch using 169 liters of skimmed milk (SM) under local condition. The workflow of the standardized process adopted by local Chhurpi maker in Nepal is described below.

Two hundred liters of milk (6.5% fat and 9% solid-not-fat) is separated to 31 liters of 40% fat cream and 169 liters, skimmed milk (SM). SM is heated to 60–65°C in aluminum kettle under direct fire. Then 40 liters of Dahi (fermented milk) made by using SM is added, with constant stirring. The curdled mass is cooked by boiling for 30 minutes or until long threads or chains are formed. Then 50–60 liters of whey is drawn out. The kettle is taken out of the fire after colour changes to creamy yellowish. The cooked curd is strained and pressed for 24 hours using stone weights. The pressed curd is cut into small cubes and air-dried on a bamboo mat in a well-ventilated room. The product is hard enough after 12–15 days of air-drying. Alternatively, the product is smoke-dried after 10 days of air-drying. Chhurpi yield is 4.5% with 8–10% moisture, 8–9% fat and 80% protein on dry matter basis. The technology has been very useful to the remote and mountainous milk producers who do not have access to raw milk market. The producers are able to convert perishable milk into long life products like Chhurpi, butter, and ghee. The technology has been quite useful to generate cash income and local employment at the rural level.

Further work is needed to improve the quality and the profitability of final product and to improve the technology appropriate to the rural producers.

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