The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: production of rice beer or madhu
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 7.4.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1.4.1937-26.6.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: Then we let them explain the madhu production in detail. For this first of all a kind of yeast is needed, a supply of which is kept in every household. This is started as follows. First red rice is cooked and then mashed to a porridge (21) then a bit of old yeast powder is mixed in but supposedly this is not entirely essential. This paste is now shaped into small, flat loaves and is stored on a flat area near the ceiling of the house. Some sugar cane is put on top as well. Once these loaves have dried they are pulverised and the white powder is kept in a round-bellied container with a relatively narrow opening and a lid. Now when madhu is to be prepared at first the women stamp red rice. This rice is cooked in the ordinary way and the cooked grains are spread out on a very big, flat basket, are sprinkled with yeast and mixed together.
text: This mixture is then put into a basket which has been lined with leaves and is left to ferment there five to ten days depending on the season. This basket has a drainer for making the strong and clear rice beer usually in the form of a bamboo stuck into its pointed base. (SKETCH
text: In Shankok's house there now too stands a basket fastened between two bamboo poles and tapering to a point below similar to the one used for making madhu, but in this one bamboo shoots are being fermented.