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Toast to Tradition: Chinese Glutinous Rice Wine Recipe

Glutinous rice wine, also known as sweet rice wine, is a traditional Chinese alcoholic beverage. It is made from glutinous rice, which is a type of short-grained rice that becomes sticky when cooked. This wine has been a part of Chinese culture and tradition for centuries and is known for its natural sweetness and delicious taste.

A traditional Chinese kitchen with ingredients like glutinous rice, yeast, and water laid out on a wooden table, with a large earthenware jar for fermenting the rice wine in the background

If you're looking for a unique and authentic Chinese recipe to try at home, making glutinous rice wine is a great option. With just a few ingredients and some basic equipment, you can make your own homemade wine that is sure to impress your friends and family. Plus, you can experiment with different recipes and variations to find your perfect blend.

Key Takeaways:

  • Glutinous rice wine is a traditional Chinese alcoholic beverage made from glutinous rice.
  • Making your own glutinous rice wine at home is a great way to experience Chinese culture and tradition.
  • You can experiment with different recipes and variations to find your perfect blend, and even add seafood as a suggestion where applicable.

Understanding Glutinous Rice Wine

A large clay jar filled with fermenting glutinous rice, surrounded by traditional Chinese cooking utensils and ingredients

Glutinous rice wine, also known as sweet wine, is a traditional Chinese alcoholic beverage made from glutinous rice grains and fermented rice. It has been a part of Chinese culture for over two thousand years and is still enjoyed today. In this section, we will explore the history and tradition of glutinous rice wine and the different types available.

History and Tradition

Glutinous rice wine has a rich history in Chinese culture and has been used in many different ceremonies and celebrations. It is believed that the wine was first made during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) and was used in religious ceremonies as an offering to the gods. Over time, the wine became more widely available and was used in everyday life for cooking and drinking.

Today, glutinous rice wine is still an important part of Chinese culture and is used in many different ways. It is often used in cooking to add flavour to dishes, and is also enjoyed as a drink on its own or mixed with other ingredients.

Types of Glutinous Rice Wine

There are many different types of glutinous rice wine available, each with its own unique flavour and characteristics. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Hong Zao - This is a sweet and sour wine made from fermented red glutinous rice. It is often used in cooking to add flavour to meat dishes such as Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken.

  • Jiu Niang - This is a sweet wine made from fermented glutinous rice. It has a thick, porridge-like consistency and is often enjoyed as a dessert.

  • Mi Jiu - This is a clear wine made from fermented glutinous rice. It has a mild, sweet flavour and is often used in cooking.

When making glutinous rice wine, it is important to use the right type of rice and yeast to achieve the desired flavour and consistency. The fermentation process can take anywhere from a few days to several months, depending on the type of wine being made.

If you are looking to add some seafood to your glutinous rice wine recipe, you could try adding some dried shrimp or scallops. These can add a delicious umami flavour to the wine, and are commonly used in Chinese cooking.

Ingredients and Equipment

A bottle of Chinese glutinous rice wine, a bag of glutinous rice, a fermentation jar, and a straining cloth

Key Ingredients

To make Chinese glutinous rice wine, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice) - 1 cup
  • Water - ¾ cup
  • Chinese distiller's yeast (also known as wine cake or Chinese wine yeast balls) - 2 grams

Required Equipment

To make glutinous rice wine, you will need the following equipment:

  • Large glass jar (with a lid)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Rubber band
  • Rice cooker or pot
  • Thermometer
  • Funnel
  • Glass bottles with stoppers

You may also want to consider using ginger to add flavour to your wine. Additionally, if you want to experiment with seafood, you could try adding dried shrimp or scallops to the rice mixture before fermentation.

It is important to note that fermentation is a crucial step in making glutinous rice wine. You will need to ensure that all equipment is properly sterilised to prevent contamination and that the rice mixture is kept at a consistent temperature of around 25°C during fermentation.

Preparation and Cooking Process

Rice grains soaking in water, steaming in bamboo baskets, then fermenting in a clay jar with yeast and water

Rice Preparation

To prepare the rice for glutinous rice wine, you need to soak it overnight in water. Soak the glutinous rice with clear water one day in advance, with a little more water, to ensure that the glutinous rice can still be under the water after the glutinous rice is soaked. The soaked rice can be crushed by twisting it by hand and it is ready to soak.

Fermentation Process

After soaking the rice, you need to ferment it. You can use red yeast rice to ferment the glutinous rice. Mix the rice with red yeast rice in a container and cover it with a cloth. Allow the mixture to ferment for about a week, stirring it every day.

Steaming and Boiling

After the fermentation process, steam the rice in a steamer for about 20 minutes until it's cooked. Then, boil water in a pot and add rock sugar to it. Add the cooked glutinous rice to the pot and stir it well. Cover the pot with a cloth and let it sit for about a week.

During this time, stir the mixture once a day. The rice will start to ferment and produce alcohol. After a week, strain the rice mixture, and you will get the glutinous rice wine.

To add seafood to the recipe, you can use dried scallops or shrimps. Soak the seafood in water for about 30 minutes until it's soft. Add the soaked seafood to the pot with the glutinous rice and rock sugar. Cook it together and let it ferment for a week as usual.

The total time it takes to make glutinous rice wine is about two weeks. The preparation time is about a day, and the cook time is about a week. You will need a steamer, a pot, and a container to make the wine.

Recipes and Variations

A table with various ingredients like glutinous rice, yeast, and water. A large jar filled with fermenting rice mixture. A handwritten recipe and variations displayed next to the jar

Classic Glutinous Rice Wine Recipe

If you're looking for a classic glutinous rice wine recipe, look no further! Here's a simple recipe that you can follow:

Ingredients:

  • 500g glutinous rice
  • 500ml water
  • 100g red yeast rice
  • 100g wine biscuits
  • 100g rock sugar
  • 1 piece of ginger

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the glutinous rice and soak it in water for at least 4 hours.
  2. Drain the rice and steam it for 25 minutes.
  3. Spread the steamed rice on a tray and let it cool down completely.
  4. In a separate container, mix the red yeast rice, wine biscuits, and rock sugar together.
  5. Grind the mixture into powder using a blender or a mortar and pestle.
  6. Add the ginger to the mixture and mix well.
  7. Put the cooled rice into a sterilized glass jar.
  8. Pour the mixture into the jar and mix well with the rice.
  9. Cover the jar with a piece of cloth and secure it with a rubber band.
  10. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for about 20-30 days.
  11. After 20-30 days, strain the wine and discard the rice lees.
  12. Transfer the wine to a clean bottle and store it in the fridge.
  13. Serve chilled.

Confinement and Savory Dishes

Glutinous rice wine is a popular ingredient in Chinese confinement food, which is believed to help new mothers recover from childbirth. One of the most famous dishes made with glutinous rice wine is the Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken (红糟鸡), which is a savory and fragrant dish that is perfect for confinement.

To make Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken, you'll need:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup of red glutinous rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 slices of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 stalks of spring onion
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here's how to make it:

  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat up a wok with sesame oil and stir-fry the ginger, garlic, and spring onion until fragrant.
  3. Add the marinated chicken pieces and stir-fry until they are golden brown.
  4. Pour in the red glutinous rice wine and stir-fry for a few minutes.
  5. Cover the wok and let the chicken simmer in the wine for about 30 minutes or until it is cooked through.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve hot with steamed rice.

If you're looking for a variation of the classic glutinous rice wine recipe, you can try adding seafood to it. For example, you can use prawns or clams to make a delicious seafood glutinous rice wine dish. Just add the seafood to the wine mixture before storing it in the jar, and let it ferment together with the rice.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

A table set with traditional Chinese dishes and a bottle of glutinous rice wine, surrounded by fresh fruits and decorative serving utensils

Glutinous rice wine is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some serving and pairing suggestions to help you get the most out of your homemade glutinous rice wine:

  • Aroma: The aroma of glutinous rice wine is sweet and fragrant, with a hint of alcohol. It pairs well with other aromatic ingredients like ginger, garlic, and green onions.

  • Servings: Glutinous rice wine is best served warm, either on its own or as part of a dish. A small glass of rice wine is usually enough to complement a meal.

  • Sweet Rice Wine: Sweet rice wine, also known as "jiu niang" in Chinese, is a popular dessert wine. It can be served on its own or used as a sweetener in other dishes.

  • Lunch and Dinner: Glutinous rice wine is a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, particularly Southeast Asian cuisine. It can be used in both lunch and dinner dishes, such as stir-fries, stews, and soups.

  • Main Course: Glutinous rice wine can be used as a base for cooking meat, seafood, and vegetables. It adds a rich, sweet flavour to the dish and helps to tenderize the meat.

  • Garnish: Glutinous rice wine can be used as a garnish for dishes like steamed fish or stir-fried vegetables. It adds a subtle sweetness and a hint of alcohol to the dish.

  • Seafood: Seafood pairs particularly well with glutinous rice wine. You can use shrimp, scallops, or crab in your glutinous rice wine recipe to add a seafood twist to your dish.

Try experimenting with different combinations of ingredients to find the perfect pairing for your homemade glutinous rice wine.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table with ingredients and utensils for making Chinese glutinous rice wine

How do you make homemade Chinese rice wine?

To make homemade Chinese rice wine, you will need glutinous rice, yeast, and red rice. Rinse the glutinous rice and soak it in water for at least 4 hours. After draining the rice, steam it until it is cooked. Mix the cooked rice with yeast and red rice, then transfer the mixture to a clean and sterilized container. Cover the container with a breathable cloth and let it ferment in a warm and dark place for about 1-2 months.

What's the fermentation time for Chinese glutinous rice wine?

The fermentation time for Chinese glutinous rice wine can vary depending on the recipe and the temperature of the fermentation environment. Typically, the fermentation process takes about 1-2 months. However, some recipes may require a longer fermentation time, up to 6 months or more.

Can you make rice wine without adding yeast?

It is possible to make rice wine without adding yeast, but it may take longer for the rice to ferment. The natural yeast present in the air and on the rice grains can be used for fermentation. However, adding yeast can speed up the fermentation process and ensure a more consistent result.

What's the typical alcohol content in homemade rice wine?

The typical alcohol content in homemade rice wine can vary depending on the recipe and the fermentation time. Generally, homemade rice wine has an alcohol content of around 10-20%. However, some recipes may result in a higher or lower alcohol content.

What are the main uses for glutinous rice wine in cooking?

Glutinous rice wine is commonly used in Chinese cuisine for marinating meat, poultry, and seafood. It can also be used as a seasoning in stir-fries and soups. Additionally, it can be used to make traditional Chinese desserts, such as sweet glutinous rice balls.

What ingredients do you need for a traditional Chinese rice wine recipe?

To make a traditional Chinese rice wine recipe, you will need glutinous rice, yeast, red rice, and rose wine. Some recipes may also include rock sugar, wine biscuits, and brandy. If you want to add seafood to your recipe, you can use dried shrimp or scallops to enhance the flavour of your dish.