Grandma used to make this homemade rice wine for anyone who is due for baby in the family, it is an essential for the lady's confinement we used it in every dish we cooked for the mother within 30 days after the baby is born, this period is called confinement period.
Grandma also made sure to make a few more bottles of this wine for my house, 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 foods when mom gave birth to my youngest brother....
Now that grandma is no more. I just feel that this increasingly disappearing 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
1.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.
2. 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.
3. The next day, drain the water out from glutinous rice, bring half pot of water to boil and steam the glutinous 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.
4. As my bamboo steamer has double layer, I swapped the upper layer with the lower 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 glutinous rice using rice cooker as the cooker normally over cooked the rice and make it mushy, mushy rice made sourish wine, which we should try to avoid at any cost.
5. When the rice is cooked, loosen and spread to let it cool down completely.
6. In a mortar and pastel, pound the wine starter into powder.
7. Add the cooled rice into the pre-soaked red yeast rice and water, sprinkle wine starter and stir it well.
8. Place the container cap, but do not tightened it, the brewing process produce quite a bit of gas and this will let the gas release naturally. Leave the container at a well ventilated place at room temperature.
9. Stir it every 3-4 days with a very clean spatula. It was already smells like wine after 4 days and tasting real sweet.
Note：Do not leave the container at warm and humid place as it could attract bacterias or over ferment the rice turning the wine into vinegar!
10. Harvest the wine and rice residue/lees/vinesse after 20-30 days, whenever the wine is ready. The rice should look a little porridge like in texture and has slight alcohol smell, when the rice precipitate naturally at the bottom, the rice is ready. Harvest time depending on weather and temperature. It normally takes longer in winter and shorter time in summer.
11. Filter and bottled the wine, keep the rice residue/lees/vinesse (Ang Chow/红糟）too, it is a great cooking ingredients.
12. 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!
Note：I grind my Ang Chow (Red yeast rice wine lees) into a smooth paste and keep in tight container and refrigerate. It is the best food coloring and great for marinates.
This is how the wine looks after 3 years, clear and golden in color, smells great and good for cooking!