8oz malted barley powder (you can use malted barley if you have it)
1 cup cooked short-grain rice
1 cup sugar
pine nuts and slices of ginger, to garnish (optional)
Using a linen cloth or cheesecloth, put the malted barley in and tie it up with a string. Make sure to secure it lightly. Put the cloth in a bowl of warm water. (You can also let it sit in the water for about 1-2 hours. The water will be milky by the end). While the cloth is in the water, start the "milking process" by manually squeezing the cloth multiple times so the malted barley can mix with the water. Do this for about 3-4 minutes. Squeeze out as much as you can. Discard the malted barley left inside the pouch. There might be sediment (flour residue/ starch) in the bottom, so be careful not to disturb it when moving the bowl.
If you do not have kitchen linen or cheesecloth, use a fine sieve, place the flour/powder in a large bowl with warm water, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze the malt repeatedly for about 3-5 minutes. Strain the liquid through the sieve into a clean bowl. Repeat the process to take out as much malt water as possible from the flour/starch.
WASH YOUR RICE. Then cook it (using whichever method you usually use, like a rice cooker or instant pot big enough for 16+ cups of water).
When the rice is done, pour the malt water from the bowl gently. Again, be careful not to add any residue of the flour/starch that might be left. Stir the rice to separate it. Discard the leftover starch.
If you're using a rice cooker or instant pot, set it to the warm function and leave it for about 4-6 hours. This process helps ferment the rice and malt liquid. The process is done when you see rice grains (about a dozen or more) float to the top.
TIP: If you do not have either of these to cook the rice, using your oven on the warm setting works too. Just put the water and rice in the pot you cooked the rice in (if it's oven safe and cleaned) in the oven and let it set there for 4-6 hours, until the rice floats.
NOTE: Do not let the rice ferment for more than 8 hours because it will spoil, and you will have to restart the process again.
Now, once the rice is fermented, if using a rice cooker, transfer it to a pot so you can boil the punch. Add the sugar and bring the punch to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. If you're using an instant pot, set it to the "sauté" setting for about 5-7 minutes. Skim off any foam from the top of the punch as it boils.
Let the punch cool completely. Transfer the punch into plastic or glass containers, and store them in the refrigerator. This will hold for up to 1 week. Sikhye also freezes well and can last up to 3 months in freezer-safe containers.
To serve: For visual appeal, rinse some of the rice at the bottom in the water and keep it separately until ready to be served. Add it to a cup or bowl, then pour the punch over it, and add nuts and/or ginger slices, as garnish (optional), and done!
Note: adding ginger slices to the boiling process adds extra flavor.