|Country of origin||Nepal|
|Region||Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling district|
|Source of milk||Yak, Cow|
Chhurpi (Nepali: छुर्पी) or durkha is a traditional cheese, similar to ricotta, consumed in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Sikkim, Darjeeling hills, Bhutan, and Tibet. The two varieties of chhurpi are a soft variety (consumed as a side dish with rice) and a hard variety (chewed like a betel nut).
Chhurpi is prepared in a local dairy or at home from buttermilk. The buttermilk is boiled and the solid mass that is obtained is separated from the liquid and wrapped and hung in a thin cloth to drain out the water. The product is rather like the Italian ricotta, which also is made from whey. It is soft, white, and neutral in taste. However, it is often left to ferment a bit to acquire a tangy taste.
To prepare the hard variety, the soft chhurpi is wrapped in a jute bag and pressed hard to get rid of the water. After it dries, it is cut into small cuboidal pieces and hung over fire to harden it further.
The soft chhurpi is used in a variety of ways, including cooking with green vegetables as savoury dishes, as a filling for momos, grinding with tomatoes and chillies for chutney, and as a soup. In the mountainous regions of Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet, chhurpi is used as a substitute for vegetables because it is an excellent source of protein.
Hard chhurpi is usually consumed by being kept in the mouth to moisten it, letting parts of it become soft, then chewing it like gum. In this manner, one block of chhurpi can last up to two hours. Its high protein content and tanginess make it an excellent treat for dogs, which explains its high demand in global markets as a dog chew.
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