This is a very versatile starter that can be used both for various types of rice wine and tape (tapai, lao-chao and khao-mak). The starter is also known as peh-chu (China), Ragi tapai (Indonesia, Malaysia), nuruk (Korea), Budod / budur / bubud / budbud or budbod (Philippines) or look-paeng (Thailand).
Rice wine starter | tape starter culture
This is a very versatile starter that can be used both for various types of rice wine and tape (tapai, lao-chao and khao-mak). Please see the instructions for each below.
What is tape
Tape (also often written as tapay or tapai, and known in China and Thailand respectively as lao-chao and khao-mak) is a traditional fermented alcoholic preparation of rice or other starchy foods found in a large part of Southeast Asia and share of East Asia. The name refers to both the alcoholic rice paste and the alcoholic beverage derived from it.
Alcohol that you can drink or eat!
It has a sweet or sour taste and can be eaten as such, used as an ingredient for traditional recipes, or fermented further to make rice wine (which is confusingly called tapai in some cultures). Tapai is traditionally made with glutinous rice (ketan rice or sticky rice), but can also be made from various other carbohydrate sources, including cassava and potatoes. The fermentation is very complex, different fungi, yeasts and bacteria play a role.
What is rice wine
Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented, steamed glutinous rice (also called ketan rice or sticky rice), water and yeast. Rice wine is made throughout Asia. The most famous rice wines are from Shaoxing, in Zhejiang, a province of China.
Unlike ‘ordinary’ wine, which is made by fermenting naturally sweet grapes or sometimes other fruit, rice wine is made from rice. In contrast to fruit, this contains no fermentable sugars, but starches. In an extra step, the starches are converted into sugar so that they can then be fermented. This process is similar to the step of ‘mashing’ in brewing beer.
Rice wine usually has a higher alcohol content (18 – 25%) than grape wine (9 – 16%), which in turn has a higher alcohol content than beer (usually 4 – 8%). Rice wine can be drunk as is, but is most commonly used for cooking.
Tape is also known as:
The starter is also known as peh-chu (China), Ragi tapai (Indonesia, Malaysia), nuruk (Korea), Budod / budur / bubud / budbud or budbod (Philippines) or look-paeng (Thailand).
About this tape and rice wine starter
This starter can be used for both tape and all Asian rice wines, from shaoxing or shaosing rice wine, to sake or mirin. Note: there are many different types of rice wine, all of which have a slightly different preparation and a slightly different result.
- 10 grams
- Ingredients: Rice wine starter (a variety of fungi, including Aspergillus oryzae, Rhizopus oryzae, Amylomyces rouxii or Mucor species and yeasts including Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomycopsis fibuliger, Endomycopsis burtonii). The starter is also known under the names peh-chu (China), Ragi tapai (Indonesia, Malaysia), nuruk (Korea), Budod / budur / bubud / budbud or budbod (Philippines) or look-paeng (Thailand).
- Storage instructions: can be kept in the fridge for at least 6 months, more than a year in the freezer
- Origin: Indonesia
- Allergens: none
How to make your own tape
(for instructions on rice wine, please see below)
- 2 cups of white glutinous rice (sticky rice, ketan rice, for sale at the toko)
- 1 cube of tape starter.
- 2 teaspoons of rice wine starter
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- Allow the rice to soak overnight in plenty of water.
- Rinse and steam the soaked rice for 45 minutes and allow to cool to body temperature. Be careful that the rice is not too hot, because heat can damage the starter culture.
- Sprinkle the tapestarter over the rice and mix for a minute with a clean spoon to distribute evenly. Mix the starter and rice well to reduce the risk of spoilage and shorten the amount of time needed for fermentation.
- Mix half a cup of sugar with water.
- Wrap the rice in layers in a pot. Pour some sugar water between each layer to speed up the fermentation process.
- Fermentation in a warm place (25-30 degrees) for 2-4 days.
- After 2 days you will probably see a little liquid in the bottom of the pot and the smell of the rice will change.
- At this moment the fermentation process is complete, but the taste of the Tapai will improve if it is kept in the refrigerator for a few days.
- The liquid that accumulates at the bottom of the container is a rice wine called brem. Normally it has a very low alcohol content after a few days, but if it is fermented for a longer period, the alcohol content increases. See also the recipe for rice wine.
How to make your own rice wine
- Three cups of sticky rice
- Water to soak
- 1 cube of rice wine starter.
- 1 tablespoon of flour (optional, if you add it, it will yield a sweeter wine)
- 1 cup of water
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 large plastic colander
- 1 clean tea towel
- a steam basket or oven
- a plastic container with a content of at least 3 liters .
- Make sure that all materials are clean and that they are kept clean throughout the entire process.
- Wash rice in a clean colander and put it in a clean mixing bowl. Add water and let it soak overnight.
- Drain the rice
- Steam the rice for 20-30 minutes, the rice should be translucent/glassy and still feel somewhat ‘chewy’.
- Allow to cool completely.
- After the rice has cooled down, transfer it carefully to a large colander. Put it under a tap and let the cold water run smoothly and rinse the rice constantly. Carefully use both hands to move the rice until all grains are separated and completely cold. Do not break the rice.
- Drain. It does not have to be bone dry.
- Meanwhile, mix 4 teaspoons of starter well with 1 tablespoon of flour
- Pour the drained rice into a clean mixing bowl and then add the yeast mixture. Gently mix with clean hands. At this moment you will have very sticky rice and hands. Make sure the rice stays intact.
- Transfer the well-mixed rice from the mixing bowl to the container that you will use for the fermentation.
- Pour a cup of water into the empty but sticky bowl and wash your sticky hands in it. Keep that water.
- Meanwhile, use clean hands to distribute the rice evenly and press the rice firmly into a slice.
- After the rice has been fully compressed, push a hole about 5 to 6 cm in diameter in the middle.
- Wet your hands with the “rinsing water” in the mixing bowl and make sure that it becomes a sturdy rice construction with a hole in the middle and solid walls . Rinse your hands and repeat.
- Rinse your hands and repeat.
- Carefully pour the remaining moisture from the mixing bowl over the rice construction. This will be soaked up slowly.
- Cover the container with a clean tea towel and place in a warm place (about 25-30 degrees C) to ferment.
- After about 24 hours you can lift the tea towel and you will see that water collects in the hole. Scoop it out with a clean spoon and spread it out over the rice again.
- You will have to repeat this once or 3 to 4 times in 48 hours to keep the rice sufficiently wet.
- At the end of the second day the hole must be quite full and the surface of the rice still wet. It will start to become fragrant.
- You can now remove the container from the heat source and store it at room temperature. If you leave it in a warm place for too long, it can go moldy or become acidic.
- On the third day: repeat the scooping and pouring 3x.
- On the fourth day: emptying the hole and pouring it is no longer necessary. You probably already see a lot of moisture and less rice. Push the rice under water 3 times a day.
- At the end of the fourth day a lot of moisture and bubbles should show. The rice has shrunk considerably and it is very fragrant.
- On the fifth day: the bubbling may have become less.
- Transfer the sweet rice wine to a bottle in the fridge. Cover but not too tightly because it is still fermenting a bit.
- And now? You can drink it, or dilute it with hot water and with extra sugar, or even distill. It remains cloudy, but if you leave it for a long time (months), it will become clear. This is not necessary.
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