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Tongba: Millet Gruel Recipe

The rice sake-making technique can be extended to other grains as well. In Nepal, the famous Tongba is an unmalted gruit beer (unhoped beer) made from millets using a two-stage fermentation (one with mold/rice koji to get fermentable sugars and second with wild yeast to get the alcohol). The traditional name is mandokpenaa thee and Tongba is the serving vessel. However, the name Tongba has caught up in the popular culture so much that both are being used interchangeably.

Even the traditional way to serve and consume is really unorthodox. It is served unfiltered. The server is supposed to add hot water to leach out flavors (alcohol) from the brew and filter it using a perforated bamboo straw before consumption. Unlike most of the Indian traditional brew, this is aged from 3-6 months before serving. Considering that the climate of Nepal is cold, it is not unusual to serve and consume a hot beverage.

nepal millet beer

Tongba: Millet Gruel Recipe

Make the traiditional Nepali millet beer which is served with a perforated bamboo straw in its landmark straw.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Fermentation 7 d
Total Time 7 d 1 hr 20 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine himalaya, nepal
Servings 4 Glasses
Calories 200 kcal


  • iconoic serving glass.


  • 1 kg ragi and millets
  • 5 gm Koji rice


  • The millets are cooked for about 60 minutes (whole grain)
  • The culture of mold (khesung) is inculcated into the still warm millets (much like the sake preparation where koji is added). It is stored in dark but allowed to breathe oxygen. You can taste the sweetness growing every day. If you are unable to find the culture, use the koji rice from Arishtam.
  • After 1-3 days when the mold formation is visible, it is transferred into an airtight container for alcohol preparation.
  • In two to three weeks we get ‘mandokpenaa thee’ which is a solid mass (not a beverage) that can be further aged for maturing (3-6 months is recommended).
  • Now pour this mass into a glass, pour boiling water, wait for 5 minutes and sip the filtered brew. Typically people refill the glass, 1-3 times to extract the maltiness and alcohol before the leftover millets are discarded.
  • Filtered version is also called Chang. Its cloudy, slightly effervescent and tastes amazing.


Consumers are seeking experience and interesting food stories more often. Hence reviving these unusual styles and unique cultures immediately captivate their mind. As a chef, you must have realized that by tweaking the ingredients and presentation a bit, it is easy to achieve the diversity that patrons today seek.

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Homemade Easy to make Millets Wine known as TONGBA in Nepal famous Drink in Himalayan Kingdom
Keyword gruel beer, millet beer, nepali traditional beer


  1. 5 stars
    I want to buy japanese koji kin please make it available for purchase

  2. 5 stars
    Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Cheers

    1. sure Dannie It will be our pleasure if you could share this traditional Indo-nepal beer recipe with your German friends

  3. ปั้มไลค์

    5 stars
    Like!! Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

  4. 5 stars
    Nice post. I was checking constantly this home brewing blog and
    I am impressed! Very useful information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info much.
    I was seeking this certain info for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  5. Kusum Agarwal

    5 stars
    didn’t realize it is so easy

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