By far one of the best things you can make with rice. I’m absolutely obsessed with this stuff. For those of you who do not know of this glorious creation, it’s a traditional Chinese condiment that can be translated to fermented sweet rice. you can put it in soups with sweet sticky rice balls. And its even easier to make.
It tastes a little boozy but very sweet. I did some research and it does contain some alcohol however its very minute. I never realized it was so easy to make, however its the procedure and finding the right ingredients that can be a little tricky.
The yeast necessary for this recipe can be found in a Chinese grocery store. It’s called jiu qu. But its basically a live culture of yeast and is usually formed into a ball.
MAKE SURE THAT YOU WASH EVERYTHING THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP AND HOT WATER TO AVOID MOLD. I cannot stress this step enough. If there is any grease, any at all, your batch will be ruined. The things you will need are a strainer or large cheese cloth, a mortar and pestle, a large and wide bowl, a huge glass jar, some clean dish towels, and possibly another bowl as well as LOTS of hot water.
When adding all the ingredients into a bowl or jar, make sure there is at least 3 inches of space between the surface of the rice and the top of the container. Basically, get a VERY BIG CONTAINER to avoid overflow and wasting your precious jiu niang.
Make sure to also avoid mold to use the right rice and follow the directions. You need sweet sticky rice, no other rice can be used, trust me it does not work. Also when cooking the rice it cannot be too watery or else you will have wasted a whole lot of rice when fermenting. It takes too long.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Use a teaspoon of sugar to help speed up the fermentation process. This really helps in avoiding any mold. Also the mixture must be kept in a dry but very warm place around 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit is needed to start the fermentation. I usually place it into my oven with the light on (which is what many people do) and it works pretty great!
One of the most traditional ways to eat jiu niang is with yuan zi or sticky rice balls that can easily be made from scratch!
Sweet fermented sticky rice
- 5 cups premium sweet rice
- 1 yeast ball (jiu qu)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- READ THE DESCRIPTION ABOVE OR YOU MAY HAVE NO HOPE OF MAKING A SUCCESSFUL BATCH OF JIU NIANG.
- Steam the rice. You may need to do this in batches if you don’t have a big enough rice cooker. Usually for glutinous rice you add equal parts water. Or just follow the directions on the back of your rice package.
- Cool the rice using either a strainer or a cheese cloth by running under cool water. *NOTE: this does use a lot of water so if you like to save water then you might want to keep something underneath so you can use the water later.
- Crush the yeast ball in a VERY CLEAN container or your mortar.
- In a large, CLEAN wide bowl or container, add in your rice and half of the crushed yeast then mix thoroughly. Add in the second half along with the sugar and again mix thoroughly.
- Then make a small hole in the middle of the rice about 2-5 inches wide so that the liquid or “wine” can collect. And cover with plastic wrap, poking holes in it so that air can get into the rice allowing the yeast to breathe.
- Allow to ferment for about 2 days. It should smell a bit fruity after the first day. A little bit the “rice wine” should begin to collect within the hole after the first day(we’re talking at least 16-24 hours, not overnight). If it doesn’t then that usually means that the temperature environment is not high enough.
- After tasting (with a clean, grease-free spoon and NO DOUBLE DIPPING) and achieving desired taste, (a slight boozy yet sweet flavor) remove from the container and place in a large, clean glass jar (or an airtight container, but jars always work best as they keep it from spoiling, you can always use a large pickle, we’re talking the jumbo size pickle jars here).
- Eat with whatever your heart desires!
I have always had a little layer of mold grown on my jiu niang, I have made this several times and it happens each time, but so far I have only ha d 1 batch that poiled all the way through. If a little mold grows then don’t fear, just scrape it off with a clean spoon and keep fermenting. If anyone has any suggestions as to what I may be doing wrong then please feel free to offer some advice.