One of Marie’s favorite beverages is amazake – a sweet, fermented rice drink found in shops next to Japanese shrines. Amazake’s secret ingredient is koji, a bacterial culture that’s been added to barley or rice. Used to make fermented foods, koji serves the same function as a sourdough starter; it can be found online or in Japanese grocery stores and usually comes dried.
To make amazake at home, Marie experimented with several recipes before settling on this one, first published in “Well+Good Cookbook.”
- 1/2 cup cooked white rice
- 4 ounces rice koji
In a thermal pot or rice cooker, combine the cooked rice and 1 1/2 cups water and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the koji crumbles, which start the fermentation process, and stir to combine thoroughly.
Let the mixture sit for 8 to 12 hours in the 130 to 150° F range, stirring occasionally and maintaining the temperature at all times.
Increase the temperature to 167° F or higher to stop the fermentation and prevent the amazake from becoming sour. It will resemble a rice-flecked, super-runny porridge.
Pour the mixture into a mug or bowl and serve hot. Store the amazake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Marie has been sipping amazake since childhood and now almost always ends the day with a glass. “It warms me from the inside out!” she says. While Marie prefers her amazake warm, her husband Takumi blends his with milk and banana for a smoothie with pizazz. Discover amazake’s unique taste – and experience the healing benefits of fermented foods – at home!