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Recipe: Fermented Rice | Tapai (Tape)

Fermented rice, also known as Tapai, is a fermented food made from inoculating a carbohydrate with a starter culture. The resulting paste has a sour and sweet taste and is often eaten directly as food or used in traditional East and Southeast Asian recipes.


  • 2 cups Glutinous Rice (sticky)*
  • 2 tsp. Tape Starter (Ragi Yeast)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar


  1. Soak the rice in one gallon of water overnight.
  2. Steam the soaked rice for 45 minutes and then cool to body temperature. Be careful the rice isn't too hot as heat can damage the starter culture.
  3. Sprinkle the Tape Starter on the rice and mix with a clean spoon for a minute to distribute evenly. Be sure to mix the starter and rice well to reduce the risk of spoilage and improve the amount of time needed for fermentation.
  4. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar with water. Pack the rice in layers into a jar. Sprinkle each layer with some sugar water, to help start the fermentation process.
  5. Ferment for 2-4 days. After 2 days you will likely see a bit of liquid in the bottom of the jar and the odor of the rice will change to the distinctive Tapai smell. At this point the fermentation process is complete but the taste of the Tapai will improve if kept in the refrigerator for a few days. The liquid which collects at the bottom of the container is a rice wine called brem. It normally has a very low alcohol content after only a few days but if fermented further, the alcohol content will increase.

*Tape Starter can be used with sweet rice to make Tape Ketan, with black sweet rice to make Tape Ketan Hitam or with Casava to make Tape Telor.


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