Written By Rabindra Debbarma, Translated from Kokborok By Luna Debbarma
Chakhwi Khok is a traditional handmade tool, which is used to make the famous dish called Chakhwi (hence the name Chakhwi Khok) by the tribal people living in rural Tripura.
This tool is custom-made from bamboo, which is the only raw material required to make Chakhwi Khok.
This bamboo is finely peeled to obtain a raw base of the same size and length to make Chakhwi Khok. This is a fine masterpiece of engineering, showcasing traditional handicrafts. It also shows how skillful people were back in the day, creating something so intricate. This Chakhwi Khok is available in every household, in fact, it is mandatory!
Chakhwi Khok. Image credit: Rabindra Debbarma
Chakhwi Khok is a tool used to prepare the dish Chakhwi, a dish that contains rice paste and sodium powder. Earlier, it was prepared with ash and hot water, poured and filtered through this Chakhwi Khok. It isn’t possible to prepare Chakhwi without the Chakhwi Khok!
Creating the Chakhwi khok| Image- Rabindra Debbarma
In the olden days, when our ancestors were mostly traditional and living in forests, they were unable to eat the Chakhwi dish. This is why we consider Chakhwi Khok as our partner or even a member of the family.
Chakhwi is prepared only by placing heated coal in a Chakhwi Khok, which gives taste to the dish. In Kokborok, this process is called as “Tolwi Chakhwi Songma.”
Chakhwi extracted in a container. | Image- Rabindra Debbarma
As time passed, Chakhwi Khok slowly began to disappear due to the availability of sodium powder in the market. People began to prepare Chakhwi using sodium powder and gradually the original Chakhwi Khok ceased to exist.
Chakwi Khok is also our traditional food tool. Nowadays, we see it only in museums and not in our households. Some people use Chakhwi Khok just to store food items and not for preparing Chakhwi to eat. Our future generations won’t even recognize the Chakhwi Khok.
If not using Chakhwi Khok for preparing Chakhwi, I hope the tribals in Tripura can at least keep Chakhwi Khok in their homes so that the generation after ours will get to see the craftsmanship and culture safeguarded by tribes to this date.
About the author: Rabindra Debbarma lives in Tripura. He is a beekeeper and is working towards growing his bee farm. he loves to travel and learn about what’s new in the world.
This article was first published in Youth Ki Awaaz