Articles Health and Lifestyle

Airtract Dr. Devananda Uchoi Scientist

Preperation of Fermented Fish Product ‘SHIDAL’ From Small Fresh Water Fish by Indigenous Method 17 February, 2020   

Fermented fishery products are widely consumed and are one of the popular food items among the people of North-East India. Some indigenous fermented and dried fish products of North-East India are Shidal in Tripura,  Sidra and Sukuti in Sikkim, Karoti and Bardia in Assam,  Gnuchi, Tungtap in Meghalaya, Ngari and Hentak in Manipur. Shidal is a semi-fermented fish product prepared from freshwater fish Puntius sp. (Hamilton). It has numerous recipes which are prepared and consumed with various vegetables by people of all communities in North-East India.

Materials required:

1. Sorted dry fish (Puntius sp.)

: 40 kg

2. Cover paste

: 0.5 kg

3. Clay (prepared from fine soil)

: 1 kg

4. Cover leaf

: 2 nos.

5. Vegetable oil (mustard oil)

: 1.2 L

6. Earthen pot (40 kg capacity)

: 1 no.

7. Gunny bag

: 3 nos.

8. Grinder/Mortar

: 1 no.

9. Polythene bag

: 1 no.

10. Mat (bamboo/plastic)

: 1 no.

Sorting of dry puntius fish:

Manually sort out dried puntius fish to segregate damaged or broken fish from the lot. Sorting can be done based on uniformity in size, appearance, etc.

Preparation of cover paste:

Crush or grind the left out broken or smaller size dry fish with the addition of little oil and sufficient quantity of water to form fish dough or paste.

Preparation of clay seal:

Take 1-2 kg of fine soil, add a sufficient quantity of water to mix with the soil. Knead the soil along with water until it forms a fine dough or clay.

Oil the smearing of earthen pots:

Smear with vegetable oil, the inside part of the earthen pot and dry it under the sun. Repeat the process for almost one week till the earthen pot stops absorbing the smeared oil.


1. Sort dry puntius fish by hand and soak in potable water for 3-5 min.

2. Partially dry the soaked fish over mat overnight at room temperature.

3. Pack tightly the partially dried fish layer by layer into an oil-smeared earthen pot up to the neck portion.

4. Seal the mouth of the pot with the cover pastes and cover it with a large leaf to restrict flies.

5. Keep the pot undisturbed for 2-3 days.

6. Remove the leaf and give a final seal with clay to create anaerobic or microaerophilic conditions inside the pot.

7. Plaster with fresh clay as and when cracks appear on the clay layer to avoid insect infestation.

8. Cover the clay layer with a polythene bag tightly.

9. Keep the pot undisturbed for 4-6 months (maturation period) for fermentation at room temperature.

10. After maturation, remove the clay, and putrefied paste to get the final product. Now the product (shidal) is ready for preparing various dishes.

Fermented fish products have various health benefiting effect due to the presence of beneficial bioactive compounds. These products possess antioxidant activity as well. Lactococcus lactis subsp cremoris, Lc. plantarum, Enterococcus faecium, Micrococcus, Yeast: Saccharomycosis are involved during fermentation of shidal. Bacteriocin production and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) production by fermenting bacteria help relief from depression and sleeplessness. Bioactive peptides inhibit the Angiotensin-I-converting enzyme (ACE) and control hypertension. The presence of antioxidant compounds slows down the aging process. It also reduces symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and prevents inflammation. Hence, it can be summed up that fermented fish products are alternative health food for healthy living.


Majumdar, R. K., Roy, D., Bejjanki, S., & Bhaskar, N. (2016). An overview of some ethnic fermented fish products of the Eastern Himalayan region of India. Journal of Ethnic Foods, 3(4), 276-283.

Uchoi, D., Roy, D., Majumdar, R. K., & Debbarma, P. (2015). Diversified traditional cured food products of certain indigenous tribes of Tripura, India. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 14(3), 440-446.

Muzaddadi, A. U., & Mahanta, P. (2013). Effects of salt, sugar, and starter culture on fermentation and sensory properties in Shidal (a fermented fish product). African Journal of Microbiology Research, 7(13), 1086-1097. 

Fermented fish products Shidal Fish fermentation technology entrepreneurship

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