It's true! You don't need a lot of nuruk. I just completed my third attempt at makgeolli and finally, success! Good thing, because I think I would have lost all hope if I'd made another ****ty batch.
I don't have a scale, because I don't brew other things, so this is what I did.
sterilized fermentation container by wiping thoroughly with soju
add cup of soju to container to inhibit nasty growths (I think it makes a big difference to use soju instead of vodka, but if vodka is all you can get your hands on, use that)
10 cups of cooked short grain rice, new crop (sticky rice, glutinous rice, etc)
*I know a lot of recommendations say not to cook the rice all the way. I cooked it and let it sit in the water after it was done, because I was busy. It was fine.
4 liters of cold water (I was making a double batch, so you'll see I used 4L and 10 cups), mixed in with the rice, let it sit until the whole mixture is cold
10 tbsp of coursely ground nuruk (straight out of the package from the international store) and one tbsp bakers yeast - I mixed this in with my sterilized (with soju) hand, once I was sure that there were not warm pockets. It's really important that things are cold before you add the nuruk. I used bakers yeast because it's what I had
Put a cheese cloth on top of the fermentation container (I used a glass behive), and let it go to work at 65 degrees. We kept our house at 65 the whole time so this could happen correctly, and we kept the container in a place that got no sun. Some recommendations suggest a warmer temperature. Previous experimentation tells me warmer temperatures will increase the sourness and make it taste awful. Colder, with less nuruk, is the answer.
Fermented for 5 days, filtered before the rice cap fell back down. This was for two reasons: 1) I was under a time constraint. 2) It started to smell sour on the fifth day, similar to the last batch I had made, which was awful, and I didn't want it to get to sour.
The results were GREAT. Not sour. Really mild taste. Probably lower alcohol content, but no problem. Because of the delicious taste, there's no need to dilute it, so I ended up with what was basically a high gravity beer (maybe even higher? I've had two cups and I'm feeling pretty toasted.) I backsweetened with Korean maltose (kind of like corn syrup, but it doesn't raise blood sugar in the same way) because I happened to have it around. I think I ended up backsweetening with about 3 oz of maltose per liter. It's so delicious. I'm going to flavor two of my liter bottles- one with almond, and one with vanilla.