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Monday, August 16, 2010

Rice Wine (Homemade)... aka Huang Jiu

Not too sure if it's the same with chinese in other parts of the world but I have seen my grandmother "brew" her own rice wine.

She usually start when one of my aunts or relatives gets pregnant. She will steam the rice in a huge bamboo basket and then the rice would have to be cooled before wine yeast is added, then the mixture would be carefully loaded into a huge earthen 'jug'. This jug (with a volume of at least 50 litres) will then be hidden in a dark corner of the house.

The following week or two, I usually smell the sweet fermentation around the whole house. It was illegal then to brew your own 'alcohol'. Imagine the tension !!

By the time the female relative gives birth, the wine would be ready as well. The new mother will get to eat chicken cooked in this wine the next 30 days, for lunch and dinner. It's suppose to be healthy.

I have made several attempts to make this but it always ended up in failure due to one reason or another. Was discussing about it with Lily and Peng and we decided to give it a go.

This will be my umpteenth attempt... keeping fingers crossed !!

When I was in J'burg, South Africa I picked up a pack of Brewers Yeast which the locals use to concoct their own brew. Grains or old breads were used to brew so I use rice.


  • 500 gm glutinuous rice
  • 1 pc (marble) wine yeast.........(second version) 1 tsp brewers yeast
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup water (optional)


  • Wash and soak glutinuous rice in water overnight.
  • Next day cook rice as you would with long grain rice in an electric rice cooker.
  • When done, tilt the rice cooker cover slightly to release moisture.
  • Let rice cool to room temperature.... Do not be impatient, really coooool the rice.
  • Grind the yeast 'marble' into powder. (This step is not necessary when using brewers yeast)
  • Spread the cooled rice on a plate or a shallow wide pan and sprinkle the yeast over the rice as evenly as possible.
  • If the rice is too dry, sprinkle a bit of water over the rice and mix thoroughly.
  • Store rice/yeast mixture in a deep glass/porcelain jug with cover.
  • It does not have to be air-tight as the fermentation starts, it has to 'breath'.
  • Place jug in a warm dark place and let the yeast do its work.
  • Now just have to wait 4 weeks.

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