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Brewing the cassava beer nijiamanch
|Cook and smash the cassave paste.||Chew, insalivate a part of the cassava dough, spit it out into the fementation jar.||Ashuar man : drink the nijiamanch beer.|
The sweet cassava tuber is peeled in the garden. Cut, boiled and pounded, its mashed pulp is stripped of fibres.
The female brewer shapes a few balls in her hand and chews each one for 2 minutes. A quarter of the manioc mash is thus unsalivated..
She adds a sweet potato, also boiled and mashed.
She pours the whole mixture into a jar at the bottom of which there is always a little bit of old beer left over. This lees is clean and safe because she brews a jar of beer 2 to 3 times a week.
The jar is hermetically sealed with balsa wood. The fermentation lasts all night long. The Ashuars say that the beer speaks, that it is happy.
Early in the morning, the sawe, the clearest and best fermented part between the supernatant of thick paste and the deposit, is drawn from the jar.
Then the thick paste is collected in a gourd filled with water and stirred. This increasingly diluted beer is drunk as is.
The sawe is the part of the brew of better quality, well saccharified and fermented, more alcoholic. This pale, milky yellow beer has a pleasant, slightly sweet taste. It does not fizz.
Sometimes , the female brewer adds fruit, palm or cane sugar to increase the alcohol content and flavour the beverage.
To brew the chapuras, a special ritual and festive beer, a bamboo rack with banana leaves is placed at the bottom of the jar. In this way, the sawe is perfumed and filtered better, without mixing with the dregs.
The Achuar female brewers also make a beer with ripe plantain bananas and more rarely with taro. The brewing method is similar to that of the nijiamanch.