• Thu. May 12th, 2022

‘Chakka’: Meet Ladakh’s ‘tastiest’ organic cheese maker

ByRandall B. Phelps

Apr 23, 2022

Srinagar: When Mohammad Shabir opens his kiosk located in Kargil in the Ladakh region, his organic products, especially cheese and “chakka”, sell out in no time. His products are so popular that office regulars buy his cheese early in the morning and store it in a freezer in the corner of his shop until they return in the evening.

Although Shabir started his business in 2013, he has recently become one of the most sought after cheese makers in Kargil town. Its ‘chakka’ – a traditional Ladakhi delicacy consisting of curd and cream that can be eaten with bread – is also popular.

Shabir, from the village of Pashkum, says his products are 100% organic and that’s why his business has now become a success.

“I started my business in 2013 as my father was doing the same thing but at a very modest level. The secret to my success is that my products are 100% organic and made from pure cow’s milk. I also sell other organic products like chakka which are also in high demand. Besides, I also sell organic vegetables,” Shabir told the Kashmir Monitor.

He said his business has grown significantly over the past few years as more and more people now prefer organic food.

“From a humble beginning, I now make cheese, chakka, etc. from 360 liters of milk per day. Although I take milk from other people in my village, I also bought three cows myself and I plan to expand it further given the good response from buyers. Now the number of people who prefer organic food is increasing,” he said.

Kargil tourism agent Gulam Rasool Lal said his cheese is made from pure cow’s milk called “orjan”.

“Here, this pure cow’s milk is called ‘orjan’ from which pure curd, cheese and chakka are made. Chakka is a pressed solid curd which is taken with local bread called ‘takki’ and is very popular in this region. Shabir started selling from a van and now owns a kiosk and is among the most sought after organic cheese makers in town,” he said.

Those who have tasted his products affirm that he was among the best in the region.

“The cheese processed by Shabir is of very high quality and the proof of its purity is that it does not stick to the pan when frying and does not turn black but yellows. To taste, the cheese is the best that i have tasted so far in Ladakh.The cheese is made from cow’s milk and the cows are fed with organic fodder.It tastes totally different from another favorite cheese in the region made from milk of yak called chupri,” western Himalayan traveler Wiqar Bashir told the Kashmir Monitor.