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Why we eat Dahi Chuira ( Asar Pandhra in current times) - By Bibhusha Rai

Updated: Apr 23

Dahi-Chuira is the first thing, that comes to mind when I think of Asaar Pandhra. Every year, this day begins with a bowl of flattened white rice floating in thick white curd, sprinkled with sugar. I recount, even on days I didn’t remember, my parents would remind me with a breakfast of dahi-chuira. Ama (Mother) always makes sure to prepare or get the curd beforehand, as well as the packeted chiura from Nepal, which she considers the best.

Every year on the 15th of the Nepali month Asaar which falls on the month of June, most households of the Indian Gorkha/Nepali community uphold the tradition of consuming dahi-chuira. Until recently, I didn’t know the reason why we ate this dish. Morning sleep still in my eyes, I would sit at the kitchen table with Ama and Papa. The first bite is always cold but delicious, the tough chiura softened with the curd, sweet with sugar. I always make sure to stir the mixture well, the spoon creating circles as the white chiura flakes and sugar crystals get submerged in the curd; scraping the bowl for a last bite.

This year, Asaar Pandhra falls on the 29th of June of the English calendar. So, why do we eat Dahi-Chuira every Asaar Pandhra? A bowl of dahi-chuira is nutritional as well as arilo (lasting), it keeps one full for a long time. June being a month of rainfall, is also the time of ropain when farmers sow the rice seeds, hoping for a bountiful harvest. Both women and men are involved in the ropain. It is believed that the farmers being busy with the planting of the rice crop, didn’t have time to prepare meals. So, they consumed dahi-chuira, a fast and nutritious meal, allowing them to work well without any hindrance. Gradually, Asaar Pandhra became a day of celebration. Sadly, with time the significance of this day began to get lost. I like many others consumed our bowl of dahi-chuira, never questioning the significance behind this humble dish.


About the writer

Bibhusha Rai hails from Darjeeling, with a MA in English Literature from Delhi University, she is interested in research and storytelling. Food and Identity hold great significance for her, she also enjoys poetry and painting.

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