Sohben the fruit of a plant with spreading branches and large green leaves that mostly grows in dense forests in the areas of Wahsohra, in Meghalaya in northeastern India. The plant flowers in March and April, producing fruit in August and September. The fruit has a round shape and contains 5-6 seeds. Each plant produces about 20 fruits per year. Individual fruits weigh between one-half and one kilogram. The fruits are harvested by hand by individuals who climb the trees and collect them with the use of a traditional knife, called ka wait. Sohben fruits consist of three layers. Inside the first and the second layer, the taste is quite bitter; however, the innermost layer has a taste similar to that of a peanut. Sobhen is prepared as a chutney in one traditional dish, mixed with ginger and salt. To make this dish, the outer layer of the fruit is broken and the seeds are removed. Then, the thin layer is removed and washed, then roasted or quickly boiled. Sobhen also has a medicinal use to treat high fever when the outer shell is boiled and prepared as a drink. Sohben is not found sold commercially, but harvested for personal consumption. Members of the Khasi community who have traditionally made use of the fruit wish to pass on knowledge to future generations regarding the sustainable harvest, to ensure that sohben is available in the future, and to use the fruit to create other dishes and products.
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.