Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Chui—the Spice of Khulna

While peeking over the traditional food recipes of Khulna or even of Bangladesh, a spicy name—Chui Beef (beef prepared with the hot spices and chui.) —will come forward. While crossing the streets of Khulna, even your lazy look won’t miss the restaurants offering chui beef.  

Piper chaba is popularly known as Chui Jhal in the Khulna region. The roots and stems of the chui plant are generally used as the spice. Chui is sold at 300- 350 taka per kilogram. It’s available in the markets of Khulna and also in the street markets of Gollamari and Nirala. There are two types of chui available: the tiny roots are called Desi Chui which is higher in price and the other variety, which is bigger in size, called Pahari Chui. Pahari chui grows in Khagrachhary and Rangamati districts.

Method of Cooking Chui Beef:

Cook onion and garlic with a little oil until they become brown. Now put the beef with more oil and water (maintaining the quantity of beef). After five minutes put turmeric powder, chili powder and salt. Cook it for more than an hour. Don’t forget to stir in between. When you think the beef is cooked, put small pieces of chui jhal along with cumin, cardamom, black pepper, canella and clove. Then lower the flame and keep cooking for ten more minutes. And when a pungent smell hits your nose… it’s ready.

Restaurants offering Chui Beef:

Zero Point of Khulna is famous for chui beef. There are nine restaurants at Zero Point, which offer this delicacy. Kamrul Hotel and Dumuria Hotel are the two oldest restaurants at Zero Point. The owner of Dumuria Hotel, Mohammad Ershad Ali Sheikh (40), says he’s been running the restaurant offerintg chui beef for nine years. He cooks about 35-40 kilograms of beef every day.

There’s a restaurant called Chui Jhal at the back of Shib Bari, in front of the Banglalion office.

The chui recipe in restaurants came from Abbas Hotel of Chuknagar, Khulna. But they only cook chui with mutton.

People of Khulna have been using chui for a medicinal value for years. Chui decreases pain. Some believe Chui helps to fight cold, headache and cough. Chui with fish and meat is thought to heal pain. While talking about the history of chui, Ershad Ali the owner of Dumuria Hotel says, “I’m not sure where it came from. We have been seeing it since our childhood. I watched my mother and my grandmother cook food with chui and I’m just following it but in a wider space called business.”   

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