How Rice Wine is Made: The Chewing Method Explained



Rice wine is a traditional alcoholic beverage that has been produced and consumed in many cultures for centuries. It is a type of wine made from fermented rice and water, often with the addition of yeast or other ingredients. However, have you ever wondered how chewing plays a role in the making process of this popular drink?

The process of making rice wine involves several steps that are crucial to its flavor and quality. One such step involves chewing the rice grains before fermenting them. This technique is believed to date back thousands of years and was first used by people living in China, Japan, Korea, and other parts of Southeast Asia.

In this article, we will explore how chewing affects the production process of rice wine along with its history as well as some fun facts about it! So let's dive into the world behind one's favourite drink – Rice Wine!

How is Rice Wine Made Chewing: A Comprehensive Guide

Rice wine chewing, or "chewing wine," is a traditional method of making rice wine found in Southeast Asia. This process of making rice wine has been around for centuries and is still being practiced today. In this article, we will explore the steps involved in making rice wine chewing.

What is Rice Wine Chewing?

Rice wine chewing, also known as "tapuy" or "tuak," originates from Indonesia but can be found throughout Southeast Asia. It’s a traditional process that involves fermenting cooked glutinous rice with yeast and mold called ragi tapai.

The fermentation process usually takes about 2-3 days to complete depending on the temperature and humidity level. During this period, the yeast transforms the sugars from cooked glutinous rice into alcohol producing carbon dioxide as a by-product.

How to Make Rice Wine Chewing

Making homemade chewy rice wine may seem daunting at first glance but it's quite simple once you understand how it works. Here are some easy-to-follow steps:

Step 1: Prepare Ingredients

To make one liter of chewy fermented rice drink, you will need:

  • 250 grams of sweet glutinous white sticky rice
  • 30 grams ragi (mold starter)
  • Water
  • Cheesecloth/ Muslin cloth
  • Clean jar/ plastic container with lid

Step 2: Cook Glutinous Rice

Wash your sweet glutinous white sticky rise thoroughly until water runs clear then soak in water for at least an hour before cooking.
After an hour passes drain off excess water into another clean bowl.
Place soaked sticky rise into cooking pot with two cups filtered water then bring to boil over low heat for approximately half an hour until all liquid evaporates leaving behind cooked sticky rise.

Step 3: Mix Ragi Starter With Cooked Sticky Rise

Mix 30 grams of ragi starter with the cooked sticky rice in a bowl. Knead the mixture together, making sure to cover every grain with ragi.

Once done, transfer the mixture into a clean jar or plastic container and seal it tightly.

Step 4: Fermenting

Put your container of mixed cooked glutinous rice and mold starter in an area where there is no direct sunlight at least for two days. Check everyday by opening the lid slightly to release any carbon dioxide gas produced during fermentation.

Health Benefits of Rice Wine Chewing

Rice wine chewing has been proven to have several health benefits that make it a popular choice amongst many Southeast Asian countries. Here are some benefits:

  • Rich source of antioxidants
  • It’s gluten-free
  • Contains probiotics which help improve gut health
  • May help boost immune system


In conclusion, chewing wine has been around for centuries and still remains an important part of many Southeast Asian cultures today. It may take some time before you can master this unique process but once you do, you will appreciate its rich flavor profile and numerous health benefits. So why not give homemade chewy rice wine creation a try? You might just love it!


What is rice wine made from, and how is it different from other alcoholic beverages?

Rice wine, also known as sake or nihonshu in Japan and cheongju or makgeolli in Korea, is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. Unlike beer or whiskey which are made using grains that have been malted and mashed together to create a wort before fermentation takes place, rice wine uses polished white rice that has been washed several times before being soaked in water and steamed. The steamed rice is then mixed with yeast to begin the fermentation process.

The main difference between traditional western-style alcohol production methods like brewing beer and distilling spirits versus making rice wines lies in the fact that there's no need for additional sugars to be added to the mix. The starches present within the grains of white polished short-grain japonica rice are sufficient enough to provide all of the fermentable sugars required for proper yeast activity.

Rice wines are typically clear with a subtle aroma compared to grape-based wines. Rice wines tend towards delicate flavor profiles with low alcohol content (usually around 18% ABV) due mainly because of high water content used during production.

How does chewing affect the process of making homemade fermented drinks like Korean makgeolli?

In Korea specifically, homemade versions of sweet-tasting yeasty beverages like makgeolli sometimes involve spitting out chewed-up cooked grain particles into a communal pot where they're allowed to ferment along with wild yeast strains already present on their hands; such communal starter cultures can be passed down through generations over time just like sourdough bread starters!

After this initial stage comes several cycles involving sieving out any remaining solids so only liquid remains allowing further fermentation until it reaches desired levels (usually 5-7 days). During these cycles targeted microbes grow converting starches into simple sugars resulting in increased alcohol percentage while reducing residual sweetness.

How does rice wine taste, and what kind of food is it good to pair with?

Rice wine has a subtle aroma, similar to the smell of fresh-baked bread. The flavor profile is mild yet complex at the same time; light notes include honeysuckle, ripe melon, and an earthy minerality. Deeper notes can consist of toasted nuts like hazelnut or chestnut as well as umami elements reminiscent of soy sauce or mushrooms.

As for pairing with food – rice wines are incredibly versatile when it comes to pairing options! Since they're not overly acidic (unlike traditional grape-based wines), they tend to be forgiving when paired with a wide variety of dishes such as sushi rolls filled with avocado for added creaminess which complements smoothness in rice wine while rich stews benefit from acid cutting through meat's richness.

Is making homemade fermented drinks safe and easy?

The safety aspect depends on how you go about creating your homemade brews – certain precautions must be taken into account before starting any fermentation project. Using clean tools during preparation along with sanitizing containers thoroughly will significantly reduce the risk associated with microbial contamination potentially leading spoilage or even sickness.

That being said if hygiene protocols are followed throughout brewing process ,it is generally considered quite safe since harmful bacteria cannot thrive under optimal fermentation conditions created by yeast strains present within grains themselves!

Making fermented drinks involves patience more than anything else- ensuring that everything stays relatively free from contamination throughout entire process requires careful attention (especially during initial stages). Once established however fermenting drinks like makgeolli becomes much easier since starter cultures passed down over generations become increasingly robust over time.

What equipment do I need to make my own rice wine?

For making small batches at home all you need is:

  1. Short-grain japonica white polished rice

  2. Yeast culture

  3. A large pot

  4. cheesecloth

  5. string or rubber bands to secure cheesecloth over pot opening

  6. a large mixing bowl

  7. A funnel and bottles for storing finished product.

Since rice wine has been around for centuries, traditional brewing methods require little equipment beyond basic kitchen tools like pots and strainers. However, it is possible to invest in specialized fermentation vessels that can make the process more consistent and efficient if you're looking into making larger batches!

In conclusion, homemade fermented drinks like Korean makgeolli are safe as long as proper hygiene protocols are followed throughout the entire process. Rice wines have delicate flavor profiles with low alcohol content compared to other alcoholic beverages made from grains. Properly made rice wines pair well with a wide variety of dishes due to their subtle aroma and mild yet complex flavor profile. Making your own rice wine requires minimal equipment but investing in specialized fermentation vessels can assist in producing more consistent results at scale!

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