These hand-pounded chire inspired us to make a granola and pair it in a traditional Axomiya jalpān. The slight nuttiness in the earthy c̃iḍē complements the sweetness of caramelised banana and toastiness of the sesame seeds.
Name of the dish: Jalpān with curry leaf oil
The chire are processed in a traditional dḥēṃki, retaining much of the sweetness of the rice: khējurchōṛi. The bran in the rice is kept intact which lends beautiful earthy flavour all the while preserving much of the nutrients.
||the flakes are dirty white with brownish red specks
|store them in a cool and dry place
what you can cook with it
You can lightly toast them and use in a granola like we did. The robust texture of the flakes helps in retaining its shape without turning soggy. You can also toss it together in a morning salad or fruit bowl for some crunch.
||Sundarbans, 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.