Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jan 14, 2007 03:58 PM

Question re. Korean "fermented rice wine."

Can I just use sake or is this a different product all together?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There is Korean sake, and there are various Korean rice wines that are different than sake or Shaoshing... but the introduction description of 'thick' implies that they are talking about mak jiu (sp?), which I think is usually homemade. It is a sort of an alcoholic porridge. I bought the 'enzyme' (that's the only English on the package, and I don't know any Korean) at the local Korean grocery. The fermentation takes only a few days. The stuff is not to my taste, unlike other storebought Korean rice wines I've had.

    Mak jiu is a live product, and it sounds like that's the important part. I'm sure the taste would be different, but a splash of sake for flavor and some yeast or sourdough for rising might be a reasonable substitute.

    8 Replies
    1. re: noahbirnel

      mak jiu = beer....I think you are thiking about makkoli?

      btw I am wondering why you don't like the taste? Its it very different than what you are used to or does it just taste gross?

      1. re: bitsubeats

        I'm sorry,'not to my taste' actually referred to the texture, not the taste. I made it myself frrom book instructions, so I can't say what the authentic product is like. I found the combination of alcohol and effervescent congee to be displeasing. So I strained the whole mess and wound up with a gallon of lightly effervescent sake-flavored rice water - which I was entirely happy to drink.

        I think it was just different than what I am used to. It also tasted gross to me. How am I to differentiate the two?

        1. re: noahbirnel

          ahah, sorry you didn't like it. I do think its great that you made it from scratch. I am lazy and would just rather buy it.

          you said that you strained it and was "entirely happy to drink" it, but then you said it was gross. I am confused!

          I bet it woudl be good if you cooked it with some korean spicy grilled pork belly or some pork intestines

          1. re: bitsubeats

            Sorry. The unstrained product was gross to me. The strained stuff I enjoyed, but I am informed that this is very very un-Korean.

            1. re: noahbirnel

              I have never in my life had chunky makoli or makoli with "floaties" in it, so maybe what you had was the real thing?

              1. re: bitsubeats

                What I had was from a recipe in Fred Ekhardt's 'Sake USA'. The recipe is for 'Korean home-brewed Mak-joo / Makolee', and it uses rice, water, yeast, and Nu-Ruk enzyme. It created a sort of thin porridge. I wouldn't call it chunky, but it certainly had body.

          2. re: noahbirnel

            I just spent some time in Korea and love makolli. You say that you made it from a recipe in a book. I have been searching but to no avail. Do you remember your source and will you share your recipe? Thanks,
            Thirsty in Oregon

            1. re: susghost017

              I found this recipe in my notes.

              Makgeolli - Thick Rice Wine


              1 pound sticky sweet rice (glutinous)
              1 pound white rice
              1/2 pound whole wheat
              1/2 pound barley
              1 package dry active yeast
              2 cups water

              Equipment Needed:
              Rice steamer
              Earthenware jar with lid

              Cover the rice and grains in cold water, place in refrigerator or other cool place and soak overnight (12 hours).
              Pour off the soak water and rinse well in cold water.
              Place the mixture into a steamer, level it and use a spoon handle or chopsticks to make several holes (this allows the steam to cook the rice more evenly), then steam for about 20 minutes
              Remove the steamed mixture from the steamer and let cool, then rinse in cold water, breaking up any clumps that have formed.
              Drain the excess water.
              Place the mixture into an earthenware jar (at least 1 gallon capacity) and add 2 cups water.
              Add 2/3 of the yeast to the mixture and mix well.
              Sprinkle the rest of the yeast on top of the mixture.
              Cover the jar and store in a dry, warm place for 72 hours.
              After 72 hours the liquid in the container should be a milky color (tilt the jar so you can see the liquid).
              Strain the wine into a clean bottle or container and refrigerate.

              For a stronger alcohol content, let the fermentation go for a couple more days.

      2. If it's the latter and if you want to make what must be a close cousin, the yeast is pretty common in Chinese dry goods sort of places. (Small balls of brittle white material, the texture looks like chalk, 4 or so to a small bag.) I usually see it translated from Chinese as "wine rice", and I'll bet you can find instructions for making it on the web, if you search on that name. A comprehensive Chinese cookbook should have it too. It's simple enough, though it does take a couple of days.

          1. Kare Raisu,

            I think that you are looking for is Makkoli (many diffrent ways of spelling), and you can find this in a Korean grocery store. As someone says above it can be thick, but they do make commercial versions of this. Here is some more info.


            You can try to substitute unfiltered sake if you can't find makkoli. Good Luck!

            1. Like the post above said, the recipe calls for makkoli. If you can't find it, I wouldn't recommend trying to substitute sake. From a baking perspective, it would like be substituting water for milk.

              You would probably be better off using a mild-flavored weissbier, like Blue Moon or Great White. It would change the flavor, but the texture would be pretty close. Good Luck!