Amazake: A Traditional Japanese Fermented Rice Drink

amazake recipe

Amazake is a traditional Japanese drink made from fermented rice. This sweet drink, often referred to as “sweet sake,” boasts a natural mild sweetness derived from the fermentation process. It’s not only delicious but also rich in enzymes and nutrients, making it a popular choice for health-conscious people. Here, we will explore everything about Amazake, how to make Amazake at home, different types of Amazake, and explore different Amazake recipes.

Amazake Recipe


What is Amazake?

Amazake translates literally to ‘sweet sake’, but it’s non-alcoholic. It’s a fermented rice drink, native to Japan and has been part of Japanese culture for centuries. Produced from rice that’s been fermented with koji (a type of mold), the result is a sweet and slightly sour brew.

There are two types of Amazake – koji Amazake made from koji rice, and sakekasu amazake made from sake lees. The koji variety exhibits a sweeter taste compared to the slightly sour flavor offered by the sakekasu variant.

A cup of Amazake

The Role of Koji in Making Amazake

Koji (the Japanese term for mold-inoculated grains) plays an important role in making this traditional Japanese fermented drink. When combined with cooked white or brown rice, koji breaks down the carbohydrates into simpler sugars, producing the characteristic sweetness of Amazake.

The fermentation process also leads to the creation of various beneficial nutrients, including amino acids, peptides, and vitamins. Some of these nutrients give Amazake its reputation as a ‘drinkable IV drip’.

How to Make Amazake at Home

Wondering how to make homemade Amazake? You’ll be delighted to know that you can make this tasty Japanese rice drink at home using a few simple ingredients – namely white or brown rice, water, and koji. You’d also need kitchen equipment such as a yogurt maker or a rice cooker with temperature control functionality.

The general steps to create an amazake recipe are:

1. Cooking the Rice: Begin by cooking your choice of rice until it reaches a soft and mushy texture.

2. Cooling Down the Rice: Allow the cooked rice to cool until it attains a suitable temperature for adding koji (around 60°C/140°F).

3. Adding Koji: Add the koji into cooled cooked rice, ensuring even distribution throughout.

4. Fermentation Process: Place the rice-koji mixture into a yogurt maker or any suitable container with temperature control.

5. Maintaining Temperature: Maintain a steady temperature of around 60°C/140°F – this is the suitable temperature for enzymes in koji mold to work optimally.

6. Allow Fermentation: Allow the rice mixture to ferment for 6-8 hours.

7. Ready-to-Drink Amazake: Once done fermenting, Amazake should be sweet and deliciously creamy.

It’s essential to monitor your amazake during fermentation carefully – especially the temperature levels (maintain roughly 60°C/140°For allowing optimal enzyme activity). Once ready, you can enjoy drinking your homemade sweet Amazake straight away or refrigerate it for future use.

Consuming Amazake

Amazake can be enjoyed hot or cold depending on preference – drinking hot amazake is especially common during winter months in Japan. Some people like garnishing their drink with grated ginger on top, while others prefer having it plain.

You can also use amazake in various Japanese recipes as a natural sweetener instead of sugar due to its natural sweetness properties making cakes softer and bread fluffier when used as an ingredient.

Additionally, not only do humans enjoy this sweet delicacy – it can also be used as plant compost too.

Ways To Make Amakaze

Besides using conventional methods like yogurt maker and rice cooker homemade method, other hardware like sous vide, and thermos equipped with temperature control mechanisms also works well, creating the perfect ambiance for the microbial process involved within our attempt to create this unique Japanese drink made from fermented rice at home.

Commercially packaged instant varieties are also quite popular, enabling users to add hot/cold water followed by a quick stir, finally enjoying this traditional Japanese drink anywhere!

A Sweet Tradition Worth Enjoying 

With that said, no matter how you like consuming your favorite cup of authentic homemade freshen-up drinks, do ensure maintaining specific temperatures throughout its buildup stages alongside utter cleanliness.

If you’re looking for a flavorful Japanese dish, you should check out baked chicken nuggets panko recipe. These flavorful little tender bites have garnered rave reviews, even becoming a favorite for those who were once fast food aficionados.

Amazake: A Traditional Japanese Fermented Rice Drink FAQ

How is Amazake made?

Amazake is made by fermenting white rice with koji, a type of mold used in making miso and other fermented foods. The rice is cooked and mixed with koji, then left to ferment for several hours to develop its sweet taste.

What is koji?

Koji is a type of mold that is used in the fermentation process of various Japanese foods, including Amazake. It helps to convert the starches in the rice into sugars, giving Amazake its sweet flavor.

How can I use Amazake?

Amazake can be used in a variety of ways. It can be consumed as a drink, used as a sweetener in recipes, or even used as a base for other fermented beverages like sake or shio koji.

Can I make Amazake at home?

Yes, you can make Amazake at home. There are various ways to make it, including using a rice cooker, an instant pot, or even fermenting it in a glass jar. It requires some time and patience, but the process is relatively simple.

What are the ingredients needed to make Amazake?

The main ingredients needed to make Amazake are white rice, koji, and water. Some recipes may also include additional ingredients like barley or oat to adjust the flavor and texture.

What is the suitable temperature for fermenting Amazake?

The suitable temperature for fermenting Amazake is around 140°F (60°C). This temperature allows the enzymes in the koji to convert the starches in the rice into sugars, creating the sweet taste of Amazake.

Is Amazake good for health?

Yes, Amazake is considered to be a healthy beverage. It is rich in nutrients and contains lactic acid, which is beneficial for digestion. It is also a great source of energy due to its high sugar content.

Where can I buy rice koji for making Amazake?

You can buy rice koji from Japanese grocery stores or online retailers. Some local health food stores may also carry it. 

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