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Torani: Sake Recipe: Rice Wine at Home

According to a Chinese legend, rice came to China tied to a dog’s tail. It rescued people from a famine that occurred after a severe flood. Even in Indian culture, rice grains are seen as sacred. In Mahabharata, Krishna feels satiated by scraping a grain of rice from the cooking pot. This story is to reinforce the significance of each grain and why wasting it is a sin. Our grandmothers used to pour the buttermilk over leftover rice and keep it in an earthen pot. Prior to refrigerators, this was the way to preserve the grains and make curd rice. If we ferment it for a couple of days, this becomes Torani or Pakhala. People serve it to Lord Jagannadha in Puri even today.

rice sake beer wine

Simple Home made Sake

Fermented rice alcohol also called rice beer
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 35 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 1 liter
Calories 23 kcal


  • fermentering tub


  • 1.7 kg Polished rice
  • 1 packet Koji 20gm of inoculated rice or 5gm of spores
  • 3-4 liters Water soft water


  • Step 1: Inoculate about ¼th of rice with koji. This helps to create enough enzymes and strong starter culture to breakdown the starch. Some stores also keep Sake rice and rice balls, which are pre-inoculated. If you cannot find them, then one has to create a bed of steamed rice, sprinkle the koji culture on it and keep it in a warm moist room for 24-40 hours.
  • Step 2: Use steamed rice (not boiled rice). The goal is to gelatinize the rice but keep it firm enough for the enzymes to act on it. Boiling will make the rice too soft and the starch conversion will not be efficient.
  • Step 3: Cool the remaining steamed rice to 25oC before mixing with koji rice. Often the core of the rice is hotter, hence a bit of patience is recommended. Add some RO water to submerge the grains. Chlorinated and hard waters should be avoided.
    milky white rice sake wine fermenting
  • Step 4: Stir the mash every 12 hours with a sanitized steel spoon. Also, check the temperature and do not allow it to shoot above 20oC.
  • Step 5: After about a couple of days, we can drain off the broth, filter and drink it. Adding more steamed rice will allow us to propagate the culture further.
    clear rice sake wine after filtering
  • Optional. You can dry out the sediment. It has enough yeast and koji in it to help you make a second batch.
    Chinese yeast balls rice wine deposit


There are hundreds of recipes for rice wine. We picked the simplest one to help you experience the culture without getting overwhelmed.

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Rice Wine Sake | Rice Koji | Rice beer at home | Japanese food made simple
Keyword indian rice beer, japanese drinks, rice wine

Sake & Rice Beer in India

Making sake could be as simple as that. The microbe culture is derived from the old terracotta pot and the substrate is the steamed rice, which are kept submerged in water/ buttermilk. After a few days, we end up with a nutritious gruel of fermented rice water, which is mildly intoxicating. In some cultures it is served like a porridge (grains and milky water), in some just the milky water and in others it is filtered (pale, clear, slightly tart beverage).
European beer making, involves a cumbersome malting and mashing of grains to produce sugars. In sake, a parallel fermentation takes place. Mold grows over rice and produces enzymes to break starch into sugars. These sugars are converted to ethanol to get the traditional flavors.


  1. Atul Mestry

    1)Whilst preparing sake with sweet koji sachet, at what stage do we need to add wine yeast for better ABV..? Adding yeast and koji together might hamper the saccharification process of koji.. pls advise
    2) which Indian rice would be best suited for preparing good quality sake.. japanese short grain sticky rice is expensive..

    1. Atul
      2. Sticky rice is the best. If not available the polished (not brown) dosa rice yields good results.
      1. the wine yeast is not required. the dry variety of the koji packet contains everything for sacrification and alcohol production.

  2. The yeast will give it a higher alcohol content.

    1. yes the yeast helps but it is not compulsory. you can make a good sake with koji alone

  3. Atul Mestry

    How much ABV can we expect from sake koji sachet, without adding any additional wine yeast..? Thanks

    1. The dry rice wine koji can yeild more than 13% ABV while the sweet one ~10%

  4. Hey, Hako here from NJ, I sprinkled about 1/4 of my rice with 20gm koji rice and then immediately put it into the rice and water mixture, it’s been 3 days and looks like it’s fermenting well, but for my next batch, how do I inoculate the Koji rice with my 1/4 of steamed rice?

    1. if you are using koji spores. then take 250gm gm of steamed (not boiled) rice and cool it to body temperature. Then sprinkle about 8gm of koji spores on it. Cover it with a aseptic cloth and keep it moist and warm (body temperature) for 24 hours. your koji rice is ready.

  5. 5 stars
    HI.. Arun here from Hyderabad.. I have purchased the Sake Koji packet 8 gm from your website… I did not find any product called “Sake Yeast” other than this koji spores… But the recipe here says I have to use “Sake Yeast”. So I had to buy wine yeast from your website… Please respond… I also wrote a query to your team and I got no response.. Now I am worried my entire batch will fail.. and I will have to discontinue my Sake project. Please respond.

    1. Hi this koji spore is self sufficient. You don’t need to add any additional yeast to it. Also unlike Chinese yeast ball, this is lab created high quality spores. your batch should be fine.

  6. 5 stars
    thanks for sharing

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