Cheek, Chik, Kharvas, Bari, Pis, Junnu
Cheek, Chik (in Hindi), Kharvas (in Marathi), Bari (in Gujarati), Pis (in Sindhi), Junnu (in Telegu) Known as cheek or chik in Hindi, this product is a sweet dairy product made from bovine colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk produced after a cow has delivered a calf, and this milk is lower in fat and higher in protein than regular milk. It is usually slightly darker in color than regular milk. It also contains antibodies to protect against diseases. To make cheek, the colostrum is mixed with a portion of whole milk and gently steamed until the edges of the mixture becomes set but still wobbly, with a slight resistance when scooped with a spoon. Cheek is usually sweetened with sugar or jiggery and flavored with saffron, cardamom or cinnamon. The portions around the edge will be slightly dimpled in texture from the steaming, and the cheek will be pale yellow or off-white in color. It is most often consumed cold.
Cheek is usually made at the household level by farmers from their own cows or buffaloes, or by people who live near farms and are able to collect or purchase the colostrum. It can be found in many parts of India, but is mainly confined to rural areas and villages that practice animal husbandry. Because of this, it is not known how much cheek is made annually. Despite its popularity among those familiar with the product, it is not easy to find for sale. Some producers will sell it door-to-door or from street carts, and occasionally it can be found in certain shops. Making cheek at home requires skill and know-how as well as access to colostrum, which is only produced for a short period after the cow or buffalo gives birth. Cheek is not a mainstream sweet on the Indian market, and many unfamiliar with this product and its reputed health benefits find it unappealing and unusual and are unwilling to try it.