An overview of traditional rice beer of North-east India: ethnic preparation, challenges and prospects
Fermented drinks are always found to be connected with the culture and existence of the ethnic tribes throughout the world. Traditional rice beer of North-east India is an indispensible part of tribal life style attached culturally and religiously with them. There are more than 150 major tribes in Northeast India and almost all are having a traditional way of preparing rice beer from time immemorial. The present paper is a comparative review on the methods of preparing rice beer by some popular tribes of Northeastern India. The methodology they use is found to be unique in many senses from rest of the world. The uniqueness not only lies in the starter culture preparation, which is the prime source of yeast but also in the other ingredients like indigenous plant species and rice varieties used as substrate resulting variation in taste and aroma. Almost all the traditional rice beer has unique soothing taste, aroma, colour and nutritional as well as therapeutic values having significant role in their socio cultural lives. In the present scenario the tradition is fading and facing lots of challenges. But, still the traditional rice beer has got lots of scope for its scientific up-gradation and commercialization.
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