By Tikaram Upreti Jhapa, Sept. 17 : Ramba Rajbanshi of Damak Municipality- 6 gets up at 4:00 am every morning As soon as she wakes up, she reaches a nearby chowk with a clay pot, water bottle, grinded pickle of tomato and coriander and rice flour. She also takes some firewood and a stove with her.
“It has been 12 years since I have been preparing Bhakka (idli),” said Rajbanshi. “A huge number of people stop by every day to enjoy the snack.”
Bhakka, a steamed rice cake, is a traditional delicacy, mostly eaten in the eastern Terai region as breakfast.
“We pour water in a clay pot and heat it. After the water starts steaming, we add rice flour to the pot,” said Rajbanshi.
Delicious Bhakka becomes ready after steaming the rice flour for two to three minutes, she added.
Since the snack is made only by steaming the flour, people perceive it to be good for their health.
Rajbanshi said that she had been selling Bakkha of 5kgs rice flour every day. “I earn approximately Rs. 700 to Rs. 1,000 per day,” she said.
Nearby Rajbanshi’s stall, Agni Rajbanshi has also been selling Bhakka for 20 years.
Agni Rajbanshi, who had been selling Bhakka in full swing besides the East-West Highway on the western side of Ganatantra Chowk, said, “I have been managing expenses of my house by selling Bhakka.”
“I start selling Bhakka before the sun rises every day,” she added. “By eight to nine o’ clock in the morning, I sell all the rice-cake that I make.”
Kaji Rai, 42, a local of Damak 7, said, “Coming to the Chowk and eating Bhakka as my breakfast is the first thing that I do in the morning.”
Bhakka is a very delicious and it is good for health too. Also, it isn’t as expensive and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket as other snacks, he added.
“One cake along with the tangy tomato pickle costs only Rs. 10,” said Rai.
In the past, people used to eat Bhakka only during the winter. Now the business runs effectively throughout the year, said the sellers.
Bhakka, which is being sold in each and every chowk of the district, has also been popular among the outsiders and tourists.
Bhakka is a traditional dish of Rajbanshi, Tajpuriya and Dhimal communities of Jhapa district.
“The dish is being loved by people from all the communities. Which is why the business of Bhakka is also flourishing,” said Agni Rajbanshi.
“This traditional dish from the Terai carries a potentiality of being introduced to the world, with effective publicity,” said Nityananda Tajpuriya, central chairman of Tajpuriya Community.
Efforts must be taken to introduce the dish internationally. It is high time to make a plan, as a part of Visit Nepal 2020 campaign, to make the tourists familiar with the dish, said Tajpuriya.