Sunday, December 18, 2011

Making Amazake from scratch...with DONABE

Although it can be enjoyed throughout the year, Amazake is a very popular and also traditional drink for winter in Japan. Amazake doesn't only tastes delicious, but also is known for its remarkable health in Vitamin B, fiber, and full of active enzymes. Just like miso, we also drink amazake for our health. (I found a good link about Amazake here.)

So, what is Amazake? It literally translates into "Sweet Sake", because just like sake, it's also made from rice, koji, and water. But, unlike regular sake, amazake doesn't contain alcohol. Cooked rice and rice koji (rice, inoculated with koji mold) are fermented together and koji enzyme breaks the starch in rice and turns it into sugar. There is no sugar is added, but the result is a very sweet creamy thing!

With donabe, you can make authentic Amazake at home. I would recommend Soup & Stew Donabe, Miso-shiru Nabe, for its size and also exceptional heat-retention ability. Here's how to make Amazake with donabe.

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Get ready 200g rice koji. Rub them together by hands until slightly fragrant. In "Miso-shiru Nabe", combine 1 rice-cup (3/4 US cup) sweet rice and 500 ml (about 2 US cups) water. Bring to simmer over medium-heat (with the lid on). Once it starts simmering, turn down the heat to low-simmer. Cook until it becomes turns into porridge. (about 15 minutes).

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Turn off the heat and let it rest until the porridge temperature is about 150F degrees. (40-45 minutes) As soon as the temperature is 150F, add the rice koji and mix well.

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Quickly cover with lid again and wrap with a towel. Put disposable hand-warmers (one in the bottom and one on the top) and wrap again with a blanket. Let it rest for 8-10 hours. Make sure that it doesn't get too hot or too cool inside. It's very important to keep the inner temperature at around 125-140 for the fermentation to take place.

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Unwrap and remove the lid...Amazake base is ready! The aroma is so beautiful.

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To make it smooth, I put it in a blender (VitaMix), but you can also enjoy the course-style amazake.

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To enjoy in a traditional way, combine amazake with equal amount of water and just warm it on the stove. Add a little amount of grated ginger to serve. The flavor of my donabe-made amazake is so serious and so delicious. It's milky, sweet, and very natural. I must say my homemade amazake tastes better than any commercial amazake I've tasted...haha.

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Amazake can be enjoyed in many other can mix in drinks, make dessert, etc. I also use my amazake in my power smoothie. So nice.

Happy donabe life.
Healthy Amazake life.