VEGAN | GLUTEN-FREE | NUT-FREE
Recipe & Photographer: Zoey Gong
Please credit @fiveseasonstcm if you want to repost this recipe
Growing up in Shanghai, I loved sweet rice (also called sticky rice, glutinous rice, 糯米, nuo mi, or mochi rice)! It is a sweeter, stickier variety of rice that gives mochi and rice cake that satisfying chewy texture.
In TCM, sweet rice has a few properties worth mentioning:
Thermal Nature: Warm
Five Flavors: Sweet
Meridian Affiliation: Lung, Stomach, Spleen
Function: Tonifies Qi and Blood; circulates Blood; disperses Cold.
One of my favorite things made from sweet rice is 糯米酒 (Nuo Mi Jiu), sweet rice wine! It is very low in alcohol content and has a pleasant sweet taste that is perfect for any season. It carries the function of sweet rice to help blood circulation and warm up our bodies, with the added benefit of supplying probiotics to our digestive system! I was disappointed to see that sweet rice wine is not really available in the U.S.. So, here is how to make it at home!
Osmanthus Sweet Rice Wine | 桂花米酒
Please credit @fiveseasonstcm if you want to repost this recipe.
2 cups of white and/or purple sweet rice 白或紫糯米
1 Shanghai Rice Wine Yeast Ball (10g) 上海酒曲
2-3 tbsp Osmanthus Flower (or other dried flower*) 桂花
Approximately 2 cups of filtered water 纯净水
Steamer or steaming vessel 蒸笼
A few clean containers/jars 干净容器
Rinse rice 3-4 times and soak over night. If using purple sticky rice, you might need to soak for two nights. The goal is to get the grain soft enough so it can be easily crushed by hand after soaking. You can also use half white-half purple.
When the rice is finished soaking (2nd or 3rd day), drain water and steam the rice in a steamer until cooked (about 20 minutes for 2 cups of rice). Sprinkle the flowers on top in the last 5 minutes of cooking.A rice cooker will not work here.
*** From here on, all the water needs to be filtered/bottled/boiled cold water. Your hands/tools/containers need to be CLEAN***
Break up the wine yeast ball and dissolve the powder in 2 cups of water.
Once the steamed rice is cooled, mix well with yeast water, and put in your container of choice to let it ferment. Add additional water if needed to make sure the mixture is wet, and the grains are separated from each other.
Store in a shady, warm environment (90 F/ 30 C) and let it ferment for 24-72 hours. You will see the liquid start to increase and bubble on the second to third day! If you ferment longer than 72 hours, your wine will be sweeter, with a higher alcohol content.
When it’s ready, open the jar and enjoy!
*You can use a cheese clothes to squeeze the liquid out and bottle it as sweet rice wine. The leftover fermented rice, called lee, can be used to ferment tofu or protein. You can also just eat the liquid and rice grain together, which is called 酒酿 (Jiu Niang), fermented sweet rice. However, I found the sweet rice I'‘ve purchased in the U.S. sometimes doesn’t give the best texture as Jiu Niang, so I recommend to separate liquid and solids!