A specialty of the Duggar homeland is kalari. People who live in Duggar’s hilly areas have been producing milk products for ages. According to legend, KALARI was born in the chilly hills of Duggar in the line of this trade. Due to the product’s distinctive sour flavour and nutritional benefits, villages and cities were gradually reached. This dish is quickly becoming a top choice for foodies throughout Jammu and Kashmir.
Nowadays “Kalari” is an all-season street food that is typically consumed with kulcha. It is similar to mozzarella cheese in appearance but tastes very different. Here are 10 Facts You Must Know About Dogra Delicacy Kalari:
1. Udhampur is said to be the home of the world’s most unique cheeses, called as the Kalari. Kalari was traditionally made from raw full fat milk, vigorously churned in an iron pot with a wooden plunger-like tool.
2. In Kalari the molten mass of milk solids when separated by adding sour milk or curd called mathar. Once stretched, the flattened cheese is cooled on the black iron pot itself, before being placed in a bowl to solidify. The solidified cheese is then sun dried to help it lose the rest of its moisture. Since the ambient temperature in the mountainous area of J&K remains low despite a strong sun, the Kalari dried from the outside yet remain moist inside.
3. Starter or Mathar plays a crucial role in the preparation of Kalari. It is prepared by mixing curd in lukewarm milk and then milk splits due to the curd reaction. Solid part is taken out and a proper circular shape is given to it. Then this product is dried after draining the excess liquid from it. The ultimate product in this process is called as Kalari.
4. The milk settlement so obtained by adding ‘Mather’ is kept separate and round shaped Kalaris are made by hand. They are kept on pine leaves, Fakada leaves, and wooden baskets to dry up slowly in the sunlight. The Kalaris are kept covered with thin white cloth to keep dust away. If properly dried the quality of Kalari will improve and it can be used for long time.
5. Nothing is on record where the Kalari was first prepared but oral history of this product passing down the generations pinpoint its origin in upper hilly areas of Chenani adjoining Pancheri. It is also on record to say that huge quantities of Kalaris were sent to Jammu by Rajas of Chenani especially during the time of Raja Kedar Chand.
6. A unique recipe of special Kalari lies with KASATA Brahmins of Sudhmahadev, which they do not disclose ordinarily. Pertinent to mention that KasataBrahmins used to present special dishes to Kings of Chenani and special Kalari was the most favourite dish of kings and their guests.
Read also: Snack and the city: How the Kalari Kulcha has kept up with Jammu’s appetite
7. Good Kalari does not need any oil or ghee while cooking because with slow heat it will give its fat content for comfortable cooking.
8. As far as nutritional value of Kalari is concerned it is rich in Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Calcium, Phosphorus, fat, Carbohydrates, and Vitamins.
9. Women play a major role in Kalari making specially for the management of mulching animals. There is no milk storage facilities in the hilly areas of J&K so the women coagulate the milk to make the Kalari.
10. The cow milk Kalaris are light yellow in colour while buffalo milk Kalari is white in colour.
The uniqueness of Kalari and its great demand in the country has made the people of Duggar proud of such a tasty and healthy dish. These days Kalaris have become an important part of various stalls to be put up in marriages and other functions. Kalarikulcha is present day favourite dish in every tea stall and hotels.