Readers, please note that with any recipe involving fermentation, there is a danger of food poisoning. Please exercise caution if you decide to try this recipe. — Ed.
Caution. The summer season is eyeing the food on your table. In the old days when there was no easy way to keep food refrigerated and safely stored, summer was synonymous with food poisoning.
In particular, the islanders’ staple of boiled barley, a substitute for rice which didn’t grow well here, was a perishable food item. But since people were so poor, they couldn’t afford to throw out rotten barley.
So they came up with a method to transform rotten barley into a healthy drink.
Shindari is a Jeju traditional fermented drink using barley or rice. It is made by putting nuruk, the round-shaped wheat malt fermentation starter, into a mix of boiled grain and water. After fermentation, the grain and water become a sweet and sour alcoholic drink, mild enough for people of all ages to enjoy.
Since shindari is made with traditional ingredients and methods, it has recently attracted attention as a well-being food. It is rich in lactobacillus and promotes digestion. If the alcoholic liquid is not boiled, it becomes a natural, healthy vinegar(*), which for centuries has been used in the preparation of Jeju food.
Ingredients 200g boiled rice or barley 40g nuruk 400ml water 40g sugar (*) Note that the amounts above are only guidelines. You can modify them to taste.
Serves one to two people.
1. Keep the boiled rice or barley at room temperature for one to two days until it becomes very soft.
▲ Nuruk. Photo by Kim Jung Lim
2. Break the nuruk into small pieces by hand.
▲ Nuruk in rice water. Photo by Kim Jung Lim
3. Add the nuruk and water to the rice and store it in a clean, well-sealed container for one to two days in the summer, or five to six days in winter.
▲ Covered and fermenting mixture. Photo by Kim Jung Lim
4. When bubbles appear on the surface of the rice water and the shape of individual grains of rice disappear, strain the contents using a sieve.
5. Add sugar to taste. The sweeter, the less sour.
6. Boil, then let cool and serve.
(*) When it is boiled, the fermentation process stops. If you don't boil it, the mixture increases in alcohol content until eventually it becomes a vinegar.
▲ The finished product. Photo by Kim Jung Lim
References “Jejudo Food” written by Jeju food expert Kim Ji Soon “Jeju Traditional Food” published by Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Agricultural Research And Extension Services
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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