Juju Dhau: Specialty of Bhaktapur
One of the ancient cities of Nepal, Bhaktapur is renowned for special kind of curd which is known as Juju Dhau. There is no written history of naming the curd after Juju Dhau. But, according to the old statement, there is a connection of curd with Malla king.
In Nepali language, 'juju' means king and 'dhau' means curd. Yoghurt was sent from Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur after a Malla king expressed his desire to eat it. Among them, the king liked the curd of Bhaktapur. Hence, it is believed that the name of the curd has been Juju Dhau since that time.
At present, about 60 families in Bhaktapur are involved in Juju Dhau business. Of them, 48 households are registered in Bhaktapur Juju Dhau Union. The family of Radheshyam Karmacharya is also involved in Juju Dhau Business for the past two decades. In Banshagopal chowk, he has 'Shree Barahi Juju Dhau’ shop. The daily routine of Radheshyam and his wife Sangita starts at 6 am. During festivals and processions, they start making curd from 4 am.
The milk which is required to make curd arrives in the morning from Nagarkot, Bageshwari, Sudal and other places. “In the past, enough milk was available in Bhaktapur. However, with the increase in the number of yoghurt traders, there is a shortage of livestock farmers and they have to import it, ”says Radheshyam.
Previously, Juju Dhau was made from Buffalo’s milk but lately, it is difficult to get only buffalo milk, so cow's milk is also mixed. Milk containing 5.5 fat is required to produce the curd and when milk arrives, the fat is measured with the help of mercury. When such tool was not available, fat was checked by dipping the hand. With the development of technology, another facility available to yogurt traders is the milk boiling machine where they put raw milk and sugar in the machine and it starts boiling at 100 degrees.
After boiling at 100 degrees, the same milk is boiled again by burning gas without putting the lid on the big stove. Then the milk is slowly poured into pots and the curd seeds are put in all the pots little by little. After making yoghurt, it is kept in the fridge so that the taste and texture do not deteriorate. In the past, when there was no fridge, cold water was put on the curd from time to time to prevent it from spoiling, said Radheshyam.
With the onset of summer, the demand for yogurt increases. He said that Barahi Juju Dhau produces 100 to 200 liters of milk yoghurt daily during the summer season and 500 to 1,000 liters of milk during the festival.
Yogurt made by Radheshyam in a small earthen glass is sold for Rs 35 in his own shop and other shops in Bhaktapur. They sell yoghurt made in two-three liter large earthenware pots for up to four to five thousand rupees. Now he has been selling a liter of Juju: Dhau for Rs.220.
Foreigners who come to visit Nepal and Nepalis living abroad not only come here to taste, they also take it to the abroad, he says. "Most of the Chinese ask us to teach them the method, "he added." I am happy that foreigners like our original dish so much. But, we cannot teach them. It can cause us to lose our originality and our identity. ”