What Do You Think Of Glutinous Rice Wine?

How many of you guys heard before of Glutinous Rice Wine or Jiuniang? It is an traditional Chinese alcoholic drink made from fermenting glutinous rice and it is supposed to be...

How many of you guys heard before of Glutinous Rice Wine or Jiuniang? It is an traditional Chinese alcoholic drink made from fermenting glutinous rice and it is supposed to be very healthy and nutritious. I have been told that mothers are given small amounts of the rice wine to built up resistant and good health after birth during confinement. Not sure whether this is really that true or not, but who am I to argue with tradition? I mean, if someone gives you alcohol (a sweet nice tasting one at that), why complain? Just drink it. I guess a lot of Singaporean Chinese are just a bit obsessed with this confinement thing, which I think is a bit ridiculous. I mean, what’s the difference between staying in a hot, stinking room and going outside where the air should be much fresher and cleaner other than being allowed to drink rice wine eh?

Well, I have been thinking of making some Glutinous rice wine myself. And from what I read, it isn’t that difficult at all. The recipe just calls from Glutinous rice which is cooked (with a steamer) and allowed to cool. Then after transferring the rice to a fermentation vessel, yeast is added to it. After which a few days later, you will get Glutinous rice wine! It is a cloudy slightly sweet stuff. However, I heard that if you do it this way (without some sort of mold to help convert the rest of the starch to sugar), you will get less alcohol. It should hit about 8% ABV. I believe that if you use the mold (Koji) to help convert the starch in the rice to sugar, you will get a stronger drink. Of couse it will take much longer due to the time it takes to convert starch to sugar by the mold and the corresponding time taken to convert the extra sugars to alcohol.

Oh, and if you are into cooking, this rice wine is used in many Chinese recipes. If you have eaten rice wine chicken or any of those food stuck full with the wine, you will definitely appreciate the wine. Luckily in Singapore, we often have the opportunity to taste such dishes as they are pretty common here. Delicious! Even with the poor quality of food served in Singapore nowadays,the rice wine seems to help camouflage the poor quality chicken and help bring out the exotic aroma of the dish. And when I say it is delicious, I mean it. Once you tasted dishes cooked with rice wine, you will never forget the taste.

The sad part about all these is that not many Singaporeans drink this. When I visit the alcohol beverages section of the local supermarkets, I seldom see rice wine being sold. Yes, there are sake available but even those are few. I guess that is surprising as what the current Japanese craze in Singapore, sake is not even popular. Chinese Rice Wine is usually found in the cooking section of the supermarket.  Well…