Grandma used to make this homemade rice wine for anyone who is due for baby for confinement, and she made sure to make a few more bottles for my house, as my brothers and I are big fan of Rice wine chicken. My aunt was teasing me the other day that she remembers me asking for mum's confinement food when she gave birth to my youngest brother....
Now that grandma is no more. I just feel that this increasingly dissapearing tradition should be remembered and recorded.
1200 gm glutinous rice (the round shape one works better)
150 gm red yeast rice (Ang kak/红麯米）
1/2 ball or 1 tsp of Rice Starter （Jiu Piah/酒曲/酒饼）
2500 gm of boiled water cooled down to room temperature or distilled water
Wash and Soak glutinous rice overnight to make sure it is fully soaked.
Note: to see if it is ready, break one grain with your finger the next day, if it is easily broken into half, the rice is ready.
At the same time, in a clean glass or clay container, mix together red yeast rice and 2500 gm of cold boiled /distilled water.
Note: it is very important to use clean container without oil or any possible residue that could cause contamination to the wine, a drop of oil is enough to spoil the soup... opppss the wine, I mean.
The next day, drain the water out from rice, bring half pot of water to boil and steam rice for an hour, I used muslin cloth with bamboo steamer to steam the rice, it let the steam penetrate through the rice, and cooks the rice better without over cooking it.
As my bamboo steamer has double layer, I swapped the upper layer with the lower one in between for even steaming. You could also sprinkle some water on the surface while swapping as it normally dries up a little during the cooking process.
Note：it is better not to cook the rice using rice cooker, as the cooker normally over cooked the rice and could make the wine turn sourish.
When the rice is cooked, loosen and spread to let it cool down completely.
In a mortar and pastel, pound the wine starter into powder.
Now add the cooled rice into the pre-soaked red yeast rice and water, sprinkle wine starter, stir well.
Place the container cap, but do not tightened the cover, the brewing process produce quiet a bit of gas and this way will let the gas release naturally. Leave the container at a well ventilated place, at room temperature.
Stir it every 3-4 days, it was already smell like wine after 4 days, and tasting real sweet.
Note：Do not leave the container at warm and humid place as it could attract bacteria, or over ferment the rice turning the wine into vinegar before you knew!
Harvest the wine and rice residue after 20-30 days，the rice should now look a little porridge like in texture, and smells great. The harvest time depends on the weather and temperature. Once the rice start settled down at the bottom, it is ready.
Filter and bottle the wine, keep the rice residue (Ang Chow/红糟）too, it is a great cooking ingredients.
This recipe made 3 and 1/2 bottles of wine and 2 boxes of Ang chow. Both could be stored at dry cold place for more than a year or as long as it last!