5 Fermented Delicacies Of Nagaland To Add Flavour To Meals
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The culinary landscape of Northeast India is more diverse than one might imagine. It is extremely intricate and layered and might baffle a beginner who has no idea about the cuisine and the cooking practices of Northeast India. Most often, when people think of Northeastern cuisine, it is perceived in totality, and each of the seven states is not given independent identification. Nagaland, which is a very important contributor to the cuisine of Northeast India, is famous for its fiery and hot chilly, Bhut Jolokia. Bhut Jolokia is one of the hottest peppers in the world and enough to make one palpitate with even a little bit of quantity.

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But this state is more than just about the famous chilli pepper. Fermentation is a very famous process in Nagaland and a key method used in preparing most dishes. This not only helps with preservation but also adds a lot of flavour to the dishes. Hence, fermentation helps in increasing the shelf life of a dish, its flavour and also its nutritional benefits.

What Is Fermentation?

Fermentation is a process in which carbohydrates are converted into alcohol or other types of organic acids with the aid of microorganisms. It is a process that has been used by humans for hundreds of years to increase the shelf life of food and also give it a very different taste. For some kinds of food, fermentation works like magic and totally changes their flavour. It also adds a lot of nutritional benefits and hence has multiple uses.

There are more than 150 types of fermented dishes that have been cooked in Nagaland for years. Here are some of the top-fermented dishes from Nagaland that are a must-try for everyone.

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* Akhuni

Akuni is also known by the name Axone. It is one of the most popular fermented dishes in Nagaland and is prepared using soy beans. Akuni is specifically popular in a tribe prevalent in the Southern part of Nagaland called the Sema Tribe. Soya beans are abundantly grown in Nagaland as the climatic conditions of Nagaland support the natural growth of soya beans. It is also a great source of protein, especially for vegetarian people. 

To prepare this fermented delicacy, take some soya beans are cleaned in fresh water and then boiled properly until they become soft. These are then smashed with the help of a mortar, and then the mixture is stored in a banana leaf, and the leaf is sealed properly. This packed leaf is stored next to the fire and kept for several weeks until it becomes extremely dark in colour. After a few weeks, Akuni becomes ready to eat.

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* Rice Beer

Rice beer from Nagaland is another famous fermented delicacy. The rice beer in Nagaland is made from extremely expensive and high-quality sticky rice. The sticky rice goes through several processes of drying and compounding, and then it is stored in huge cauldrons. The mixture is boiled until it becomes extremely white, and then it is taken off the fire after it is cooked properly. This mixture is left to cool throughout the night and then, when it is ready, some amount of yeast is added to the mixture. It is then fermented for a couple of days, after which it is enjoyed by the people. 

* Chaang 

Chaang is a drink that is not just popular in Nagaland, but also in many other parts of India. This is a beer that is made from different grains like millet, rice and barley. All of these grains are brewed together to make this drink. This is popular in different parts of India, including Nepal and Ladakh as well. This is an alcoholic beverage and generally has a 4.8% alcohol content. Some yeast is also mixed in the mixture of these grains, which helps in the process of fermentation.

* Fermented Fish 

Fermented fish is a very popular delicacy in Nagaland and is a part of almost all the meals of the natives. It is known by a variety of names among the native people, including Ngari, Tungtap, and Shutki. Different types of fish that are available in Nagaland are used to make this special delicacy. It is a very famous dish by itself and is also used as a condiment to prepare different types of soups and curries famous in Nagaland.

* Zutho

Zutho is another famous fermented drink that originates from the state of Nagaland and is made by the fermentation of rice. It is a very famous drink among the people of the Chakhesang and Angami communities and is famous throughout the state. Even to this date, it is consumed by both rural and urban people of Nagaland. This drink comes with a lot of health benefits and is also believed to reduce fever and high blood pressure. It also comes with a lot of digestive benefits.