Amazake

Amazake is a sweet rice drink made using Koji rice and freshly cooked rice, incubated at about 60 degC for just a few hours. The Koji rice and cooked rice turn to a very sweet mushy pudding in the pot, which is then mixed/diluted with water for drinking. The pudding can be put into the blender or food processor to make the mixture more homogeneous if desired.

Making amazake out of Koji rice was super interesting (at least, to me) mostly because it’s turning rice into sugar – and I’ve never seen firsthand how rice could turn sweet without any sweet additives like sugar or syrups. I’ve seen rice syrups on the shelves in stores and I’ve wondered about how much sugar there could be in rice. Then again I’m aware that rice is a complex carbohydrate, which essentially breaks down into simple sugars when digested. Perhaps it’s just seeing that break-down process in the pot and tasting the results along the way that just highlights the simplicity of the reaction.

I was just looking for a post to link where I show the results of growing the Koji rice, but I guess I hadn’t gotten to that yet. I do have photos, which I’ll post soon(er or later).

In the meantime, here’s the amazake.

Basic steps to making amazake:

  • Mix 1 cup fresh Koji rice and 2 cups fresh cooked brown rice in a pot.
  • Incubate the pot, covered, at 60degC for about 6 hours. The mixture will turn to a pudding texture.
  • Start tasting the rice mixture at 4-5 hours. The mixture, as it cooks longer, should sweeten to a certain amount and not get any more sweet, but it will get more sour. Stop the incubation when the amazake tastes good to you.
  • Put the pot on the stove and bring the mixture to a simmer. It will bubble and pop, so be careful. Bring the mixture up to temp slowly, continually mixing, and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Try not to burn the amazake.
  • Let the mixture cool and it’s ready to use. You can put it in the blender to break up the rice if you like.