Monday, May 3, 2010


I read this article from The Sunday Times "Ask The Foodie- Chris Tan" of 2nd May 2010. I think it is very helpful for those who are interested and may want to learn how to make rice wine. So I copied it down to share with you.

The basic recipe :

Wash and soak white glutinous rice in just enough water to cover for 4 to 8 hours. Drain well and steam until cooked through, then let it cool completely. Finely crush "wine biscuits" (jiu bing or chiu piah, round dried yeast cakes sold at Chinese mediciine shops) to a powder, and combine with the rice in a large glass jar. Some recipes simply mix the two, others shape the rice into disc and roll them in the yeast to coat, others spinkle the two in alternate layers; all are fine as long as they are thorough. Fill the jar 3/4 full at moist. Cover the jar mouth with a layer of fine muslin, then with a loose stopper, to let fermentation gases escape.

Leave the jar to stand in a cool place, around 25 deg C, for 21 to 28 days. The yeast will quietly bubble and turn the rice into wine and wine lees. You should not need to stir it. I have seen recipe that add some ready- made rice wine to the mix after a few days, for increased flavour and alcohol content; others add a dash of sugar for more sweetness. The wine is ready when it smells rich and heady, but not sour. Strain it through two or three layers of muslin, saving the residual wine lees. If the wine is still cloudy, let it stand until the sediment settles, then pour or siphon off the clear top layer of wine; return the sediment to the lees.

To halt fermentation, bring the strained wine quickly to a full boil over high heat and simmer for several seconds, then let it cool, store it in clean airtight bottles and keep in the fridge. Cook and store the lees likewise, stirring to help them reach a boil.

Typical proportions are l kg of raw rice plus two to four jiu bing. Less yeast means slower fermentation; some recipes add more yeast as insurance against competing bacteria or moulds, or against unpredictable jiu bing quality. Some red yeast rice (angkak) is usually added - per 1 kg of glutinous rice, perhaps 2 to 3 tablespoons for a yellow wine, and around 100g for a rosy-red Foochow-style wine.

As for taboos: All I can surmise is that touching the rice with bare hands may cause our personal skin microflora (the populations of microorganisms naturally present on our skin) to interact with or influnce the yeast activity. Thus there may be a gain of truth in the belief that different people consistently make good wine or bad wine due to their "touch". Your kitchen's native microflora may likewise interfere, so it is wise to wash all the untensils and equitment with boiling water and let them air-dry before using. And wear gloves.

Both wine and lees can be used in marinades, braises and sauces.


  1. hi, can u suggest any alternative to the Chinese yeast balls, will the common baker's yeast do the trick??

  2. Hi Rownag, thank you for dropping by my blog. I am sorry to inform yo that you can't use common baker's yeast for making rice wine. May be you can find the Chinese sweet jiubing (sweet yeast balls or biscuit)from any of the Chinese Medical shops in China Town. Hope to hear from you soon.

  3. Rice wine
    Have you ever tried strawberry rice wine? If not, please try asap. Who doesn’t need beverage? And strawberry rice wine is a beverage which is more likely never to forget once experienced. You can enjoy it anytime when you want.