Minil sticky rice is a very tasty and aromatic variety local to the Garo Hills in Meghalaya, India. There are four types of Minil which are locally known as Sarang, Jaha, Gipok and Gitchak. It is grown both in the jhum (shifting slash and burn cultivation) fields and paddy fields and is usually harvested between August and November. Once harvested the grains are left in the scorching heat until they are completely dry. The husks are removed using a traditional mortar and pestle and the rice is then stored in large traditional earthen pots. Minil will keep for long periods of time in these pots however it is usually used by the Garo people soon after harvest to make their traditional rice beer. It is said that the taste of the beer becomes better the older it is so it is often kept for up to one year before drinking. The alcohol content also increases over such a long time so that even a small amount will get a person drunk.
Though it is mostly used for making beer, Minil has also traditionally been eaten or used as a medicine to heal dog bites. When used as a food it is either boiled inside fresh bamboo, a process known locally as brenga, or ground into a flour and used for other traditional food products. When used as a medicine the rice is ground together with papaya roots and applied to the wound to cure inflammation and burning.
In the past the Garo ancestors cultivated Minil sticky rice on a very large scale, comparative to that of the rice grown as a staple food. Today however cultivation is decreasing mainly because many of the Garo people have been converted to Christianity and the tradition of making rice beer is dying out. Only a few fields of Minil remain in the center of the Garo Hills where the beer is still being made.