ITUTI~The Traditional Milk Product of Ethiopia

During the traditional production of ituti, fresh milk is collected into a well-smoked fermented vessel, called gorfa. Gorfa is woven from fibers of selected plants into a lidded container with a capacity up to three liters.

I shall try in this series to write about the traditional milk products from the different parts of the world, especially from the traditional livestock breeds. As a first piece of information, I introduce you with the Ituti, a fermented camel product from Ethiopia.

ITUTI

It is a staple food, white color, and a very solid appearance that resembles that of traditional white cheese. It has attractive texture and flavor and has a reasonable shelf life at ambient temperature, making it one of the most desired food in the region. Ititu consumed as a side dish with traditional porridge or thin-baked cereal chips. It can also be consumed as food or drink alone. It is considered as one of the special foods and served to many respected guests as well as to weaning-age children and the elderly.

During the traditional production of ituti, fresh milk is collected into a well-smoked fermented vessel, called gorfa. Gorfa is woven from fibers of selected plants into a lidded container with a capacity up to three liters. A new gorfa is washed with hot water, air-dried; and just prior to use it is rinsed with fresh milk and then smoked for a few minutes with pieces of burning Acacia nilotica (or other plants) placed inside. The lid of gorfa is treated with leaves of Ocimum basilicum for cleaning and imparting desirable flavor to the product. A small volume of milk (up to 300 ml) is added to the gorfa and is allowed to ferment naturally.

Gorfa, the milk container in Africa.

When the milk coagulates, whey is removed daily by a wooden pipette after which an additional volume of fresh milk is added. The process of whey removal and addition of fresh milk is repeated several times until the product is concentrated enough and is ready for consumption. The curd and the lids are occasionally checked visually for mold and any mold growth on the surface of the curd is removed. The lid is also washed with hot water and smoke is applied to it before replacing it.

If the product is stored for a long time without refrigeration this can lead to over-souring and risk of spoilage, due to the high growth of surface mold. This can be controlled by adding an amount of roasted Trigonella foenumgraceum powder that is pre-mixed with fresh raw milk and/or melted ghee, prior to serving.

The milk is allowed to ferment for a long time of up to 14 days and can be stored from about two months to three months.” Very delicious and healthy products compensate for the food shortage in difficult times of the year.

Type of Milk Preference

This survey is part of a study to know the preference for type of milk. Please vote for your choice and help in getting a clear picture about the choice of people for type of milk.

We conducted a survey about the milk preference both on LinkedIn and Twitter. There was a noticeable response on LinkedIn but very little interest on Twitter. I hereby again share this survey to know about the milk preference. Please participate and share in your circles so we can better understand the true picture.

Khurasani or Khorasani Goat Breed

Khorasani or Khurasani goat is one of the most important goat genetics of the historical Arya Warsha

Khurasani goat is one of the most important breeds of the historical land of Arya Warsha. This breed of goat is well adapted to the climatic conditions of the region and support the food security with its specialized milk and meat. The goat keepers make Kurath from the milk when it is abundantly available in favorable season.

Khorasani/Khurasani goat being reared by some families for milk. Photo credit: Ellen Geerlings

Habitat

The historic lands of Khurasan/Khorasan (now in Pak and Afghanistan), Toba Kakar range, Suleiman mountains region of Zhob and Sherani districts, Killa Saifullah, Loralai, Ziarat, Chaghai and Pishin districts are the main niche of the breed. This habitat is the famous and historical land of ARYA WARSHA. The breed is equally raised by nomadic, semi-nomadic, agro-pastoral tribes of Pashtoon people. The Baloch tribes of Chaghai-Kharan desert also raise this breed. The nomads with Khurasani breed move from Khurasan in autumn and may reach to Indus delta and some tribes reach to Chaghai-Kharan desert. The breed is trans-boundary. This breed is mainly a nomadic breed.

This photo was shot in Loralai, a goat grazer is milking Khurasani goat for making tea.

Phenotypic characteristics

The phenotypic characteristics of the Khurasani breed are black long hair coat, turned back horns and fine second hair coat in winter. The breed is predominantly black in color with a red face but some other color is also found occasionally. The males have beard also.

Vegetation of the Region

Acacia modesta, Caragana ambigua, Bararr, Gurgulla, Sarwane, Showan, Wanna, Barrai, Ghalmi, Shorai, Lani, Azghai, Sassi, Ghaz, Korai, Sperbutai, Oma, Murgha, Tarkha and Zizyphus.

Population of Khorasani Goat

The population of the goat is hard to predict, because of the widely scattered and mobile nature of the Khorasani goat as it is reared both by the transshipmentry and nomadic people. . It is estimated about 2.7 million. The trend is increasing.

The goat produce Pashmina in winter. Some NGOs are helping people to comb and harvest the pashmina. Photo credit: Ellen Geerlings

Special traits

  • The animal of this breed is highly intelligent, making it safe
  • The Khorasani goat is loving to her soul and take care of herself, can find vegetation and water
  • Always lead other livestock towards water and vegetation
  • Close to wild ancestors and highly resistant to diseases
  • Can travel long
They have great diversity among the breed. Khurasani breed of goat. Photo credit: Ellen Geerlings

Hope options

Goat is a more effective tool against drought as the breed can better thrive on the drought and climate resilient vegetation (bushes and shrubs) of the region.

Economic importance

The male animals are the major source of earning. The animal is smaller in size and cannot attain as higher prices as Kohe-Suleimani goat. Moreover, it is good in milk production, and milk is used for by-products like ghee and Kurath. The goat also produces pashmina, but the importance of pashmina is not yet being realized. The hair is used for making ropes and tents.