Bekang, a Fermented Fish Speciality From The North East

Embark on a culinary adventure to the enchanting Northeast region of India, where traditional flavours and age-old techniques blend harmoniously. Among the region's many gastronomic treasures, Bekang stands out as a remarkable fermented fish delicacy that tantalises taste buds with its unique and robust flavours. Go on a virtual journey to discover the origins, preparation process, and a delectable recipe to recreate this Northeastern delight in your own kitchen.

The Origins of Bekang:

Bekang, also known as "Chumlung" in some local dialects, hails from the Northeastern states of India, particularly Manipur, Nagaland, and Mizoram. It is a culinary tradition deeply rooted in the rich cultural heritage of the region. The local communities have perfected the art of fermenting fish, transforming it into a flavoursome delicacy that has been cherished for generations.

The Preparation Process:

To create Bekang, fresh fish, typically small varieties like Ngari or Hilsa, are meticulously cleaned and mixed with a combination of spices and salt. The fish is then tightly packed into a container and left to ferment for several days, allowing the natural enzymes and bacteria to work their magic. The end result is a pungent, tangy, and umami-rich delicacy that captures the essence of the Northeastern palate.

Unveiling the Flavors:

Bekang's distinct aroma may be intense, but its taste is truly remarkable. Upon opening the container, you'll be greeted by a powerful scent that hints at the flavours to come. The fermented fish undergoes a transformation, offering a complex combination of sourness, saltiness, and a subtle umami undertone. Its unique profile adds depth and character to various dishes, making it a sought-after ingredient in traditional Northeastern cuisine.

Bekang Recipe: Fermented Fish Delight

Now, let's dive into an easy-to-follow recipe that allows you to savour the flavours of Bekang in the comfort of your home.


  • 500 grams fresh fish (Ngari or Hilsa)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
  • Banana leaves (for wrapping)


  • Clean the fish thoroughly, removing scales and entrails. Cut it into small pieces.
  • In a bowl, mix salt, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder to create a spice mixture.
  • Rub the spice mixture evenly onto the fish pieces, ensuring they are well coated.
  • Transfer the seasoned fish into a container, packing it tightly.
  • Cover the container with banana leaves, ensuring a tight seal to prevent air exposure.
  • Allow the fish to ferment for about 5-7 days in a cool, dark place.
  • After fermentation, the Bekang is ready to be enjoyed! Serve it as a side dish or incorporate it into various Northeastern recipes for an authentic touch.

A journey to the Northeast is incomplete without indulging in the flavours of Bekang. This fermented fish delicacy, with its bold and distinctive taste, offers a glimpse into the culinary traditions of the region. By exploring the origins, preparation process, and trying out the provided recipe, you can immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Northeastern cuisine, delighting your taste buds with this unique gastronomic experience. So, gather your ingredients, embrace the adventure, and savour the magic of Bekang, the Northeast's beloved fermented fish delight.