Anishi is a Naga delicacy of fermented leaves made into patties and smoked over the fire or sun-dried. Anishi is prepared from the leaves of the edible Colocasia genus mainly by the Ao Naga tribe. The fresh mature green leaves are harvested, washed, stacked and finally wrapped finally with banana leaf. They are then stored for about a week until the leaves turn yellow. The yellow leaves are then ground into paste and cakes are made out of it. During grinding, if desired, chili, salt and ginger may be added. The cakes are then dried over the fireplace in the kitchen or in the sun until ready for use. Anishi is cooked with dry meat, especially with pork, which is the favorite dish of the Ao tribe. It is sour in taste and used as a condiment. Anishi is among the most culturally important foods for the Ao and Konyak tribes of Nagaland, in northeastern India. This area is home to many native plant species, including taro such as Colocasia esculenta L. that makes up a large part of the local diet with its many various edible parts. This and other species or varieties of taro grow in abundance in the area, and certain strains have been developed by farmers over generations. The taro can be cultivated as part of a family garden or in shifting cultivation (jhum) fields intercropped with rice or corn. Different taro varieties are mixed in the same field, and farmers have the knowledge of how distinguish certain varieties from others Today, anishi is produced in relatively small quantities as compared to the past. It is mainly prepared for personal or family use, but sometimes very small amounts can be found sold at markets. Today, changes in taro cultivation and pests and diseases are negatively affecting anishi production. A trend of selecting only higher-yielding varieties has lead to a los of genetic diversity, and Phytohpthora leaf blight and the corm borer (Aplosonyx chalybaeus Hope) are harmful to taro production. Changing food habits, particularly among younger generations, also mean less attention is given to traditional foods such as anishi.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.
|Indigenous community:||Konyaks, Ao|