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An overview of some ethnic fermented fish products of the Eastern Himalayan region of India

Ranendra K. Majumdar, Deepayan Roy, Sandeep Bejjanki, Narayan Bhaskar
Journal of ethnic foods 2016 v.3 no.4 pp. 276-283
diet, elderly, fermentation, fermented fish, fish, food preservation, hills, natural resources, rain, solar drying, traditional foods, traditional technology, Himalayan region, India, South East Asia
Like southeast Asian countries fermented fish is a well known strategy of food preservation in the northeast region of India. The northeastern region of India is known for its vast natural resources and a cauldron of different people and cultures, lie deep in the lap of easternmost Himalayan hills in northeastern part of India. Here the fermentation technology evolved by compulsion of people. Popular fermented fish products of this region of India include Shidal and lonailish. Fermented fish contributes a regular menu in the diets of people of almost all categories.The traditional technology was explored by thorough interrogation with the local producer in their place. The origin of the technology as well as the compulsion for diversification of the traditional fish drying process to fermentation was known from the very old people in the community.The technology was observed while in operation and attempted to justify the science behind each step in the fermentation process. The Shidal technology was found to be evolved even before the use of salt by the people.It was revealed that as the northeastern states of India, being the highest rainfall area of the world, did not provide a congenial environment for simple sun drying of fish and fermentation was the only option to preserve fish.