This dish which is inspired from the Nepalese classic chiura and choila, indicates one of the remarkable ways in which a humble ingredient finds expression across communities and cultures. The dry earthiness of the flattened rice complements the meatiness of buffalo in an understated bowl of happy meal.
Made from our hugely popular red rice, Shatia, the chire is produced following traditional processes. Since the outer red bran is retained in the rice, the chire also carries the same wholesomeness along with the flavour and earthiness of the rice. A derivative of rice, flattened/beaten rice is consumed across the Indian Subcontinent and Cambodia in a variety of ways and dishes.
||dirty white with brownish red specks on flakes
|store them in a cool and dry place
what you can cook with it
Chire can be used in any number of ways that you want to. Substitute them in your morning breakfast cereal, gently toast and toss them in a salad or simply use them as a breading in fried food.
||Uttar Dinajpur, West Bengal
Chire are derivatives of rice that are popular in most of the rice consuming nations in South Asia. The traditional way of making them is to parboil the rice grains with husk, drain and dry them completely. The next day, the parboiled grains are dry-roasted and immediately transferred to a shallow hole below a pounding lever, known in Bengal as dhneki. As soon as the grains are poured into the hole, the lever is manoeuvred by foot at one end while the hot grains are turned and tossed inside the hole by hand. Clearly, the process is an example of experience and pure craftsmanship requiring dexterity and acute sense of timing by both the persons, mostly women, involved; and the job a risky one. The flattened flakes are then winnowed using a kulo that gets rid of the loose husks and broken grains. What is left are toasty additive-free flakes of rice, consumed and loved across regions that know about them and which can potentially replace processed-sugared corn flakes in breakfast cereals.
Nowadays, there are machines fitted with rollers and a belt to flatten the hot grains and winnow out the husks, but the flavour and taste of the pounded flattened rice remain unmatched. Unfortunately, as with any other consumables in the post-Industrial and late capitalist era, profits and market price have led most hand-made chire producers to seek out those roller machines. We can only hope that with a fair price we get back flavour on our plates and keep on encouraging our farmers the beautiful work they do.