Published June 19th, 2010
A dozen Korean ladies outfitted in pink aprons roll up their sleeves and sterilize their hands with cloths soaked in soju liquor. Then they spend 10 minutes hand-blending steamed sticky rice, yeast dissolved in water and azalea petals, before pouring the mixture into plastic containers. “Don’t forget to put it in the cool shade and stir it every morning and night with a spoon for a week. Think of it as like growing a plant. Those of you who are successful will have your own makgeolli,” said the instructor at the podium.
The group of women – the wives of Korean diplomats – were taking a three-hour lecture on traditional Korean rice wine at the Institute of Traditional Korean Food in downtown Seoul last Tuesday afternoon. What they were making was azalea sticky rice makgeolli.