Thutshe – the popular rice beer at Hornbill Festival

Thutshe- a popular rice beer of the Angami Naga with fine white foam in an earthen pot. (Morung Photo)

Thutshe- a popular rice beer of the Angami Naga with fine white foam in an earthen pot. (Morung Photo)

Morung Express news 
Kohima | December 7 

Thutshe - a rice beer of the Angami Naga community over the years, continue to be a popular drink at the Hornbill Festival, Heritage Village Kisama and is much sought after for its unique taste.

At the Angami Morung in Kisama, Swelül Pucho, one of the incharge and a member of the Southern Angami Public Organization (SAPO) informed The Morung Express that in a day, it sells 700-800 cups which are served in bamboo cups. Per cup would serve around 500-600 ml which is priced at Rs 200. 

Apart from popular Angami cuisines served here at the Morung like Moudi, Mithun meat, snail, kerhu tathu (Naga dal chutney) among other items, some evening the Morung is overcrowded with visitors coming to drink Thutshe. 

Accordingly, the organizers give token to the buyers to collect the rice beer.

Among the Angami Nagas some variety of popular rice beers are Zutho, Thutshe or Khe in its own different brewing procedures and ingredients. A unique feature is that it played an important role in the socio-cultural life of the people, not only among the Angami Nagas in particular but the Nagas in general.

As for preparation of Thutshe, it is prepared with glutinous sticky rice or kemenya (local dialect). 

Akhri, a sprouted rice or starter cake is used in the fermentation process. 

Here, the sticky rice is soaked in cold water for an hour, then drained and left to dry for the least of 2-3 hours. Wooden pounds popularly called ‘pikhe’ in Angami dialect is used in grinding the soaked rice to fine powder which is then transferred to a ‘Litho’ or an earthen pot.  

The addition of water forms a thick mixture, where the ‘Akhri’/starter cake is added. The mixture is normally left to ferment for 4- 5 days in summer and 6-7 days in winter. Thutshe the filtered liquid without the addition of water after fermentation. Thutshe, between the two, is thicker, stronger and sweeter while Zutho is light, with a dull taste.  

These rice beers are also considered an antidote for gaining stamina, regulating low blood pressure and ailing high fever and body weakness, according to elders.