With these white chire, we wanted to use its naturally soft texture. The “Bijori” was a good option and in the end, we got a crunchy and delectable cracker inspired from the traditional snack from Chattisgarh.
Chire from Bnashphool are made the traditional way without any preservatives and retain their natural sweetness from the rice. The flakes are yielding and naturally soft with a gentle and mellow bite.
||the flakes are white in colour and fine in texture
|store them in a cool and dry place
what you can cook with it
You can use them in your breakfast, washing and drying them and submerging them in water to make them soft. The chire retains the shape and absorbs much liquid which gives way to a somewhat yielding mouthfeel; as such you can use any flavoured liquid you want. You can also toast it lightly and store away for an anytime munch.
||Uttar Dinajpur, West Bengal
made from parboiled Bnashphool
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.