Written by Rabindra Debbarma and translated from Kokborok by Bibhuti Debbarma
Chakhwi is one in the must-have list of food items for the tribals of Tripura. This is a delicious dish which earlier used to be cooked only by Tiprasa or the people of the Tripuri community. However, now the dish has gained popularity even among other tribes and people of other communities are also cooking and eating Chakhwi.
Cooking Chakhwi is a time-consuming process, and not many people who lead busy lives cook it on a regular basis. In villages, Chakhwi is cooked during functions and social ceremonies, especially during weddings, where it is offered to guests.
Chakhwi can be cooked with any vegetable. Firstly, in a cooking pan, water, salt, edible soda or a home-made powder of ashes is added. This mixture is then boiled, and dry or green chili paste is added to it. Chopped vegetables including leaves and the tender portion of a banana tree are added into it. Then rice powder mixed with water, which makes it thicker, are added, too.
This rice powder, called ‘Aayong’ in Kokborok, needs to be prepared or soaked in water before cooking starts. When the dish is cooked properly, to make it even tastier, lemon leaves or Siping (crushed sesame) are added after taking the pan off the stove; it adds a nice flavor to the dish. Some people also add pork to the dish.
This lip-smacking dish should be promoted even among other communities so that it rises in demand, and people can enjoy the taste of Chakhwi. It is easy to cook, and I hope people from non-tribal communities embrace this dish, learn to cook it and spread the goodness of Tripuri cuisine far and wide.
This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.
About the author: Rabindra Debbarma lives in Tripura. He is a beekeeper and is working towards growing his bee farm. He loves to travel and learn about what’s new in the world.