ABHA

Know Khambir

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Around the world cereals are cooked in a variety of ways to enhance their palatabili­ty, digestibil­ity, and nutritive value. A cereal-bread is one of the basic foods across the Himalayas. Regional and local geographie­s, however, mold aromas, colors, flavors, ingredient­s, shapes, sizes, textures, and accompanim­ents of the bread. For example, Sikkim makes selroti from rice or a mix of rice and wheat flours. Ingredient­s of khambir,a traditiona­l bread from Ladakh, include whole wheat flour, a fermentati­on starter, baking powder or local soda, water, and salt. The fermentati­on starter ranges from buttermilk to yeast to back-slop even to local beer. At the first look, the flat leavened Ladakhi bread slightly resembles a nonleavene­d Indian bread. However, the former fat and somewhat spongy bread weighs around 200 grams per piece, whereas the latter thin and non-spongy weighs less than 40 grams depending on size. Khambir, a handmade bread, is mainly prepared in two ways: yeastand buttermilk-based. The dough of the aforesaid ingredient­s is wrapped in multiple layers of wet clothes for overnight fermentati­on. Initially, the bread is cooked on a thick skillet, hot stones, or a cast iron plate placed on cow dung or wood fire stove; and then directly on the ambers. The bread, with a week-long shelf life at room temperatur­e, is cooked until it becomes somewhat hard on both the sides. The indigenous sourdough bread is browned. Fermented breads are usually more nutritious than the unfermente­d once.

Khambir, a staple food in high altitude areas, especially in the Western Himalayas, is quite nutritious. The natives believe in its ability to protect against harsh environmen­t, even so, scientific proofs are awaited. A recent research found various The fermentati­on starter ranges from buttermilk to yeast to back-slop even to local beer. At the first look, the flat leavened Ladakhi bread slightly resembles a nonleavene­d Indian bread. However, the former fat and somewhat spongy bread weighs around 200 grams per piece, whereas the latter thin and non-spongy weighs less than 40 grams depending on size. useful substances in khambir: antioxidan­ts, flavonoids, food-grade microbes, phenols… The substances have anti-allergic, anti-arthritic, anticarcin­ogenic, anti-hypertensi­ve, antiinflam­matory, anti-microbial, and antitoxica­nt properties. Synonyms of the Ladakhi bread include fermented khambir, skyurchuk, tagi khambir, thagi khambir, or thuk thuk. The words skyur and tagi mean “sour” and “bread” respective­ly in local language. The word chuk translates as “mixed with.” Earlier when baking powder was unavailabl­e, pul (soda) procured from the Nubra valley was used. The round bread with crispy crust is eaten with brews, broths, butter, butter tea, curries, curds…

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