Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to make red glutinous rice wine 红糟酒

Red glutinous rice wine, 红糟酒, has its origin from Fuzhou, China (alternatively pronounced as Foochow or Hock Chew). My dad is a Foochow, my mom is a Fuqing; both of them were born in Sitiawan, Perak, Malaysia. Do you know that foochow heritage has been prominently identified with Sitiwan? And one of the unique tradition is mee suah with red glutinous rice wine.

In preparation for my confinement, I took the interest to learn how to make red glutinous rice wine. This is my greatest late grandmother recipe passed down to my mum, and now to me.

Why bother?

You may be wondering, why bother to make when it is easily available in chinese medical hall? Well, I think one good reason is I want to learn and master the tradition. This is a disappearing knowledge or call it an "art" or tradition in the modern Singapore.

There's only 3 ingredients to red glutinous rice wine: glutinous rice 糯米, red rice yeast 红曲米, wine yeast 酒饼 (aka jiu bing). So it can't be that difficult, right? Wrong! This is like a science. You will not know if is succesful until 30days later; if it turn out to be sour or mouldy - failed. Keep my finger crossed X

  1. Cook the glutinous rice in a rice cooker with a bit more water than usual. 
  2. When the rice is cooked, spread the rice in a large tray and leave it aside until the rice is completely cool. Note: I cooked the rice in the morning, and started the wine making process in the evening.
  3. Pound the red rice yeast and wine yeast together till powdery form.
  4. Mix the powdery red rice yeast and wine yeast with glutinous rice with a clean spoon.
  5. Transfer the mixture into a glass jar, close the lid loosely and keep in a cool, dry place. Note: The fermenting process may produces a lot of gas, do not fill the mixture (#4) to the top of the glass jar or close the lid too tight, or else it may "explode" (overflow).
Question? You can easily get these ingredients from chinese medical hall 药材店. You must be wondering about the exact measurement, how many grams? The older generation often "agak-agak" (meaning approximate). Due to the limitation of my glass jar, I cooked only 3 cups of glutinous rice, used 1 handful of red rice yeast and half wine yeast.

I hope this will enable you to start working towards the traditional red glutinous rice wine. This is a picture of my red glutinous rice wine on the 3rd day. Looking good!


  1. 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.

    1. Strawberry rice wine? Wow! First time hearing it. I shall give it a try soon during strawberries season.