Among the foods that the Himachal Pradesh government is trying to obtain GI tag for is a generations-old traditional recipe made in different parts of the Chamba district — Chamba chukh.
Highly regarded in the local regions, this recipe is prepared from locally grown Chitrali chillies in the Chamba valley. The red or fresh green chillies are sun-dried and then blended with citrus extract from a local fruit and cooked with spices to form a paste.
Chamba chukh is usually eaten as a condiment to go with meals or snacks but also used in cooking. It can be consumed as a hot sauce, pickle, or a food additive.
There are several variations of the chukh made throughout Himachal Pradesh. Some make it using garlic, some add honey and dry fruits while some just like to keep the dish hot with no added sweetness. Variants of bottled-chukh are also available in stores now.
Here’s a Chamba chukh recipe made with Kashmiri dry red chillies that you can try, courtesy of food blogger Bethica Das:
6-7 – Kashmiri dry red chilies, soaked in warm water for an hour
10-15 – Fresh red chilies
4-5 – Garlic cloves
1½ tsp – Salt or to taste
¼ cup – Mustard oil
½ tsp – Turmeric powder
1 tsp – Kashmiri red chili powder (optional)
¼ tsp – Asafoetida
1 tsp – Tamarind paste
2 tbsp – Sugar
1 tsp – Coriander seeds
1 tsp – Cumin seeds
1 tsp – Fennel seeds
1 tsp – Carom seeds
1 tsp – Mustard seeds
*Grind the soaked red chillies, fresh chillies, ginger and garlic to a smooth paste by adding some water.
*Heat oil in a pan and saute the asafoetida. Now ground dry spices for a few seconds.
*Add the ground paste, salt, turmeric powder, tamarind paste, chili powder and some water.
*Saute on a medium flame till it leaves the sides of the pan. Now add the sugar and stir fry for a few more seconds.
*Switch off the flame and set aside to cool down. Store in an airtight container for later use.
Apart from Chamba chukh, the other foods that the state government wants GI tag for are Karsog Kulth (horse gram), Thangi of Pangi (a type of hazelnut), Chamba Metal Crafts (brass idols and utensils), and Rajmah of Bharmour (a type of kidney beans).