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EMERGENT LIFE SCIENCES RESEARCH - Vol 7, Issue 1, Published on 30, June 2021

Pages: 63-75
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Traditional knowledge on preparation of starter culture cakes and rice-beers by Chaodang community of upper Assam, India

Author: Girish Gogoi

Category: Research Article


Preparation of Saj or Laopani (rice beer) is a very old tradition among Chaodang community, Upper Assam, India by using varieties of cooked rice with traditionally prepared Su-pitha/Modor-pitha (starter culture cake). The fermented Saj is considered as the best alcoholic beverage, healthy, and energy booster liquor and it is a vital part of Chaodang culture. Chaodang people prepared rice-beer during festivals (Bihu), ritual functions, birth and marriage ceremonies etc. Data regarding preparation of starter culture cakes and rice beers were collected from 80 traditional knowledge holders (key informants) covering 10 villages selected randomly from Jorhat district, Upper Assam dominated with Chaodang people only. Chaodang community used 81 medicinal plant species belonging to 47 families, which was found as the highest number of medicinal plants than other tribal communities of India ever documented for preparation of starter culture cake. They used three varieties of rice in process of rice beer preparation i.e. Bora rice (sticky rice), Chakuwa rice and normal rice. This paper documents and describes some important medicinal plants, which are traditionally used in the preparation of starter culture cake by the Chaodang community and their process of preparation of starter culture cake and rice beers.

Keywords: alcoholic beverage, ethnobotany, laopani, medicinal plants