Bidding winter farewell with Chaku
Jan 13, 2018-
As Ghyaa Chaku Saanhoo, or Maghe Sankranti, approaches, Buddha Shrestha is busier than ever preparing Chaku for sale. Shrestha learned the art of Chaku making from his grandfather, who started the family business a century ago. Chaku making is not just a profitable work, but also Shrestha’s first love—he uses the recipe that was handed down to him by his grandfather, and oversees every single aspect of the production.
The necessary ingredients––jaggery, peanuts, and dry coconut—is bought from select places in Bhaktapur. To create the perfect Chaku, the jaggery is first melted in big pots, and a little bit of water is added during the process to get the desired consistency. The mixture is continually stirred, and the temperature is maintained at 130 degree Celsius. Once all the jaggery has melted, it is poured in clay pots for cooling until the temperature is down to 100 degree Celsius. The final product is then whipped, slapped, and stretched until its colour turns dark brown—the hue that has become synonymous with this sweet delight. Once perfected, the Chaku is then weighed and various kinds of nuts are added as toppings, before it is packaged and shipped to the market. Inside the damp premises of the factory, the process of making Chaku takes about two to three hours.
Eating Chaku generates extra heat in the body and the tradition of eating Chaku is a way of bidding goodbye to the frigid winter days. Today, eating Chaku is not just a nod to olden ways, but is also associated with several health benefits. “And unlike the chocolate, Chaku does not affect our health or our dental hygiene,” Shrestha says, “it is also considered to be good for pregnant women.” No wonder Shrestha’s company Shree Kashila Chaku Productions Pvt Ltd, located in Tokha, produces around 60,000 kilograms of Chaku to be consumed during the winter season. And all of it, according to Shrestha, is made with love, passion, and most importantly a tinge of nostalgia.
Photos and Text: Anish Regmi
Published: 13-01-2018 13:14