The valleys of Dalhousie are serene, calm, and full of a feeling of peace. Walking aimlessly on the roads of this beautiful hill station just awaken your tranquil side. Discovering the tiny streets here make your taste buds trickle, with the numerous roadside cafes and momo stalls, you can’t help but indulge in all these lovely delicacies here. In almost every second grocery shop, you see a hoarding which says ‘Fresh Chamba Chukh available here’. Well, the name sounds pretty intriguing, doesn’t it? So, I decided to try out this local delicacy of the Chamba region in Himachal Pradesh, the Chamba Chukh. And I absolutely loved it.
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Now, what is this chamba chukh?
Chamba chukh is essentially a cooked red chilli sauce. It is prepared using chillies, citrus extract, some spices and mustard oil. The special thing about this sauce is that it is cooked using the local Chitrali chillies, which are a special variety grown in this region.
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These locally grown Chitrali chillies are mixed with an extract from a local citrus fruit. Then, they are cooked down with Indian spices. Spices include hing (asafoedita), haldi, red chilli powder,aamchur and some salt. The local favourite, sarson or mustard oil is used for this recipe.
The traditional Chamba chukh is usually made using sun-dried red peppers which have a distinct smokey and spicy flavor, with a tiny hint of citrus in it. Since the chukh is getting popular day by day, new flavours are also coming up. Green chilli, ginger, garlic are some of the popular flavours.
The chukh is usually eaten as a condiment. It can replace a chutney or achar. You can also eat it as a sauce with momos, pakodas or crisps. It also makes a great marinade for paneer or chicken.
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It has always been a staple, prepared by the women in their households in this region. However, as tourism in this region has grown, the Government has encouraged and promoted the product. Hence, it is finding its way into the local market.
The chamba chukh is definitely super spicy, smokey and fiery. But once you start, it is very difficult to stop eating it. It is really very addictive. I’m sure you’ll love trying this chilli sauce!