STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS WITH PICTURES
Add a half-cup (100 grams) of glutinous rice (AKA sticky rice) into a mason jar or any other heat-proof and leakproof containers. Rinse it with water a few times then, drain completely.
Then soak it with 3/4 cups (180 grams) of water for 1 hour so the grains have enough time to absorb the moisture and they will cook evenly. A note here, you should leave at least 1/2 of the jar empty after you fill the water because the rice will grow in volume once cooked.
Steam the rice with the jar for 40 minutes, but without the lid, unless you want the jars to explode. However, do put the lid, a small bowl, and a spoon in the steamer so you can sanitize them as you are steaming.
If you don’t sanitize the lid, your glutinous rice wine will grow a layer of uneditable black mycelium. Like the picture below.
Once done, let the whole pot cool completely. This will take a few hours depending on your room temperature.
Use the sanitized bowl to dissolve the distiller’s yeast with distilled water (3 tbsp). If you don’t have distilled water, then boil some tap water and cool it down completely. Do not use hot water or else you will kill the yeast.
Pour the yeast water into the rice. Put on the lid and twist it all the way. Give it a nice swirl. Then untwist just a tiny bit to allow micro air to go in and out. Let it ferment for 2-3 days depending on your room temperature and you will get a jar of sweet rice wine.
I know you are probably thinking, how are that 5 minutes? Well, I mean the prepping takes 5 minutes, the rest is just waiting time. However, the recipe is still very very easy but there are a few other notes that I want to share with you so you can be an expert. First, let me explain the science behind this sweet rice wine fermenting.
The science behind sweet ricewine fermenting
It is basically a process of encouraging the growth of the distiller’s yeast and suppressing the bad bacteria. That’s why you want to sanitize everything.
During the first 3 days, the distiller’s yeast will turn the starch into glucose. This process needs oxygen. That is why you don’t want to tighten the lid completely, so you can get the wine nice and sweet.
After 3 days, the yeast will start to transfer the sugar into alcohol, this process does not need oxygen, or else the wine will turn sour.
However, I don’t want my sweet rice wine to taste like alcohol so I will tighten the lid to block the air on the third day and stick it into the fridge to slow down the activity. It will stay good for 3 months.
If you do want to build up the alcohol content, you can tighten the lid on the third day and let it sit at room temperature for another week or 2, then you will get something sweet with a hint of alcohol. Once you are happy with the taste. After that, store it in the fridge, it can also stay good for 3 months.
This is how it looks on the third day. The rice floats up and leaves a slightly cloudy liquid at the bottom. That’s how you can tell it is done.
Can you use different grains other than glutinous rice?
So far, I have tried with jasmine rice, it came out with the same sweetness. But the fragrance is slightly different. Although the texture of the grains is a lot more mussy, I would say, jasmine rice is a great option if you don’t have access to glutinous rice.
I also tried with purple glutinous rice, it came out less sweet. The fragrance is mild but I love the color, look how pretty that is.
Technique, any grains that have a high starch content will work and you can play around but don’t expect great results all the time. I have tried with Job Tears (coix seeds). The taste was fine but the smell is like dirty cloth that has been soaked for days. It is so bad that I had to throw it out.
How much glutinous rice can you make with 1 pack of yeast?
This small yeast envelope that I am using is enough to make 2 kg of glutinous rice, which is 20 of these mason jars. You could use bigger jars if you have bigger steamers otherwise it won’t fit in.
Every brand of yeast is different, you have to read the instructions on the package.
How is my method better than the traditionalway.
When my grandmom is making this. She will steam the rice in a bamboo steamer, and sanitize the container separately. Then transfer the rice into the container, which is a step that will introduce a lot of bacteria. You have to sanitize your hand and any other tool that will make contact with the rice. It is just so annoying.
My method is smart because the rice is already in the jar. And you sanitize the tools as you are cooking the rice, which lowers the chance of failure.
How to enjoy sweet rice wine?
There are many ways to enjoy sweet rice wine. If you want to be rustic, you can drink it straight from this jar. It is sweet and syrupy.
Don’t get confused with rice cooking wine because the flavor is completely different. The clear liquid is so sweet and tastes almost the same as the Japanese Mirin. I often use it as a replacement to make teriyaki.
Today, I going to use it to make the old-school pouched eggs, which is something that I eat for my birthday when I was little.
To make the poached egg
- 4 cups of water
- 3 eggs
- 1.5 cups of sweet rice wine
- Goji berry
- Sugar to taste
Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer. Turn off the heat. Crack in however many eggs you like. Cook them to your desired doneness. I pouched them for 2 minutes, which is a perfect soft yolk. Fish the eggs out so I don’t overcook them.
Open a jar of the sweet rice wine that you made. Lossen up the grains before you pour it in. Bring it back to a simmer.
Add some cornstarch water to thicken the soup. Give it a taste and adjust the sweetness to your taste by adding some sugar. I am using brown sugar but any sugar will work. Last, throw in some goji berries (枸杞).
Pour it over with the pouched eggs. I used to wake with this on my birthday instead of getting a cake. so I am attached to the flavor. It is sweet but with a hint of fermented taste. The rice fragrance makes it super comfortable and homy. Usually my mom will throw in a handful of pop rice to elevate the texture. Pop rice is similar to pop corns but made with rice. I don’t have it today so I’m not gonna add it but it is still very tasty. Western people usually put pouched eggs on toast, you have to try it in the sweet rice wine, it sounds new but so delicious.