Curd remains a staple at all sorts of social, cultural, and family events, which remain incomplete without it
Buffalo milk curd from the island district has been known across the country for the last 200 years.
It has slowly moved from a niche clientele to one of the staple dessert items in the district, which can be served raw, in its sour form, or churned with sugar or jaggery to make it a sweet variation.
Curd remains a staple at all sorts of social, cultural, and family events, which remain incomplete without it. It also has high nutrition value, as it helps digestion.
M Shawkat Hossain, local dignitary and editor of local newspaper, Dainik Ajker Bhola, said as people began inhabiting the island 400 years back, they started setting themselves up financially by rearing poultry and animals such as cows, goats, and buffaloes.
The milk was sold and conserved by many and was processed into what is now known as curd. Its heritage began to pick up during British rule, which prevails still now.
In the scattered char islands across the districts, the abundance of grass is apt for rearing buffaloes. This enables the animals to give milk in large quantities, which is sold, and some is used to make curd.
Many families are currently employed as curd makers, making it more profitable.
No preservatives or any ingredient other than lemon juice is needed to make curd. The buffalo milk is stored in giant pots for 18-20 hours, which then thickens into curd, giving it a cottage cheese-like texture.
The curd-making industry relies completely on the milk industry. During the weekly haats (village markets), curd makers sell their curds in pots specially made for the purpose.
Rafikul Islam, a curd seller, said buffalo milk was previously the first choice of demand among consumers, which is an acquired taste.
Sunil Chakrabarty, a curd connoisseur, has been in the trade for 45 years. He said buffalo milk does not need to be heated or filtered. Its natural processing saves a lot of effort, he added. The storage pots are sent across the country for commercial sales.
Abdul Hai, proprietor of Adarsha Dadhi Bhandar in Gazipur, has been selling curd like his previous generations. He said currently the 1.5-2kg pots of curd are in demand, sold at Tk150-200 per kg.
This milk can also be used to make butter, clarified butter (ghee), and buttermilk.
Butter made from buffalo milk is sold at between Tk800-1,200 per kg. He remarked that if the price of milk increases in the near future, it will benefit dairy traders like him.
Md Yunus, a buffalo trader, said he has more than 250 buffalos in Bhola’s Daulatkhan upazila. His farm produces 130-150kg of milk every day.
He added there are many like him who are reaping good profits from herding buffaloes.