ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Make Traditional Rice Beer in Indian Tribal Style

Updated on April 5, 2020

Hadia, Handi, Handiya or Handia is the rice beer, made after fermentation of rice starch into sugars. Since process of making 'Handia' is similar to that used to produce beer, 'Handia' is referred here as rice beer.

Wine is prepared by fermentation of naturally sweet grapes and other fruits, rice wine is made converting rice starch to sugars through fermentation. Rice wine is made using various amylolytic processes but mashing process is used to produce beer.

In eastern Indian states of Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal, indigenous tribes prepare local brew using rice grains as substrate. To carry out fermentation, tribal use their own unique starter cultures made of different parts of various plant species.


The leading wine manufacturers in India and elsewhere have got inspired by the concept and manufacturers like Anheuser-Busch Inc (ABI), which makes the Budweiser brand, has found that a rice variety blends well with hops. Rice gives the beer a different refreshing taste.

A higher alcohol content (18–25%) is reported to be found in rice brew than wine (10–20%) and beer (3–8%). Rice wine is known by various names in different regions and continents. In Tibet and Nepal, rice wine is known as "Raksi" whereas it is termed as "Sonti" in Thailand.

In Laos, rice wine is referred as Lao-Lao, Chinese call it Choujiu, Mijiu or Lao-zao.Balinese call it Brem, Korean know it by names like Gamju and Makkoli. In Japan rice wine is known by various names viz., Amakaze, Sake and Mirin.

The Santhal and other tribal groups of Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal prefer to make this Handia at home. Product is believed to keep people cool in summer and it's customary to offer Handia to God, and to guests on the social occasions.

The name 'Handia' is used probably because of the pot in which rice beer is fermented. It is a big earthen pot called "Handi" in local language. If press reports are to be believed, elephants are fond of the smell of the traditionally brew liquor and it's the major cause behind destruction of tribal houses in eastern India by elephants.

Wild elephants, attracted by the strong smell of rice beer, tear down the houses in search of stored brew. A news item published on October 23, 2007 (foxnews website) showed that five wild elephants were electrocuted in northeast India after they went berserk after drinking rice beer.

The stepwise process of preparing the rice-beer is shown below.

Step I: Dried rice is ground well. (Take care in selection of rice for Handia preparation. Handia can not be prepared using any rice variety. In Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh, rice variety "Karahani" and "Gora" (brown rice) are used for Handia making).

Grinding of the rice is not done by all. In majority of cases, raw brown rice is cooked in Aluminium pot (Dagchi) with limited quantity of water.

Buy Ranu Online

Step II. Boil (cook) the rice and spread out on a plastic mat to let it dry

Step III. A herbal root mixture called "Ranu" (Mulika in Santhali dialect) or "Bakhar"is powdered and mixed with rice. Earlier 'Ranu' was prepared mxing more than 20 plant parts but it is now limited to fewer plant species. These are roots of samarkani, ankanadi, chaulia,kanga alu, patal garuda, habin jhad and bark of sal bisal, kuluchi with the whole plant of kalibahu. Equal quantities of these ingredients are ground together and sun-dried for an hour; the mixture is then dried in shade for few days, after which small tablets are prepared.Small sized balls of rice (mixed with "Ranu") are prepared. Three "Ranus" are sufficient for one kg of rice. Ranu tablets are available online also at Amazon.

Step IV. Put these balls in a large earthen pots. Cover the mouth of earthen pots with "Sal" leaves and leave for fermentation for few days (three to four days).

Step V. Sieve the fluid of the fermented rice and rice beer is ready for consumption.

Variants of Handia are found in different states and only difference in the process is because of herbs mixed for fermentation.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 C V Singh


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • C V Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      C V Singh 

      5 months ago from India

      Yeast is added after preparing it using 15-20 roots and other plant parts. However, tribals keep the constituents of the yeat 'Ranu' as secret and don't reveal it.

    • TonyShepard profile image


      9 years ago from Dallas Texas

      I was wondering, in this process you don't add any kind of yeast at all? I would be afraid of the mash souring or becoming contaminated with an unwanted pathogen.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)