Traditional Rice Beer Fermentation Technology of the Sonowal Kachari Tribe of Assam, India

Rohi is the popular traditional rice beer of the Sonowal Kacharis, which is typically obtained by natural fermentation. The present study aims to identify the key ingredients used in the preparation of Mod pitha (starter culture cake), detail documentation of the fermentation technology and the socio-cultural and religious significance of Rohi. Participatory approach method was adopted for data collection that included in-depth interviews and discussions with key informants and personal observations. Glutinous rice (Oryza glutinosa Lour.) Is the principal substrate for the beer preparation, which is mixed with starter cakes and fermented within a heat-sterilized earthen pot for 4-5 days. Rohi is indispensable during festivals and traditional sacrificial rituals and ceremonies. The entire fermentation technology is the exclusive domain of women. It is hoped that this paper will be useful for further scientific study of Rohi in order to examine the bio-chemical and phyto-chemical composition of the different plant species used in the preparation of starter culture and the final pure product that may reveal some important nutritional properties, therapeutic pro-biotics, healthy metabolites, etc. And contribute towards development of the product as a value-added drink.