Odishatv Bureau

Odias savouring Pakhala or fermented rice, North Indians sipping gut-loving Kanji water, or Koreans taking pride in their traditional dish Kimchi, all these fermented foods not only provide a tongue-tickling treat but also are superfoods when comes to health benefits.

But what is fermented food and how is it made? Let's dig into it with more details!

Fermented food

Fermented foods are made by microbial growth that brings changes in food components through enzymatic action. The changes can be seen through their smells and taste.

If we refer to history and tradition, the fermentation of meat, vegetables, soybeans, cereals, legumes, and more while enhancing their taste and shelf life is prevalent in several countries.

How it's made

We can ferment food by mixing water with sabzi and adding ground mustard seeds and a little salt.

After 2-3 days, when the fermentation is complete, you can get a tangy and spicy drink or curry, depending on your pick.

The science behind fermentation

If we see it through science, LAB or Lactic Acid Bacteria is responsible for making fermented food. 

LAB converts starch into lactic acid which is known as a natural preservative. It encourages the growth of food-spoiling bacteria and fungi while adding a tasty sourness to the food. 

Underrated fermented food

According to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics, fermented foods can be defined as, “foods made through desired microbial growth and enzymatic conversions of food components”.

Likewise, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization sums it up as live organisms providing health benefits to their host when administered in sufficient amounts.

Referring to these definitions, fermented foods made at home are generally not recognized because the fermentation process is not controlled and the exact growth of LAB is unknown. 

Benefits of fermented food

Fermented foods offer loads of health benefits.

  • First, fermenting food can be a great way to avoid food wastage during great Indian marriage parties or other functions.
  • Besides, it can reduce the risk of heart disease and aids in type 2 diabetes.
  • Additionally, it reduces and soothes inflammatory bowel syndrome.
  • A few research shows that fermented milk has anti-cancer properties and can decrease cholesterol levels.
  • While there is ongoing research on its role in overall gut health, it has links with improving mood and cognitive functions.

Fermented food dishes-

Here is a list of a few delicious and healthy dishes from India and abroad-

  • Kasundi (West Bengal)
  • Dal Vadis (Uttarakhand)
  • Idli and Dosa (South India)
  • Sauerkraut (Eastern and Central Europe)
  • Kimchi (Korea)
  • Kanji (North India)
  • Pakhala (Odisha)
  • Miso (Japan)
  • Natto (Japan)
  • Tempeh (Indonesia)

By- Supalee Dalai