Monday, August 30, 2010

Home Brewing - Glutinous Rice Wine

I have to confess that i have shyed away from brewing glutinous rice wine at home for the longest ever, all because of all the superstitions pertaining to brewing wine at home.  I finally buck up courage together with inspiration from my friend, Claire and tried making 2 batches, one plain and one with red rice yeast.  Claire came to help and all we had to do was to blend the yeast and start assembling the rice for brewing.  I had prepped the rice earlier by cooking it in the rice cooker, so that it will be cooled enough for assembling when Claire arrived.  I was so excited that i forgot to take pictures of the assembling.  I did not take pictures perhaps i was skeptical that the wine will be a success as i know that i will break all rules and superstitions - I did not have a mouthful of sugar when i started making, i talked alot and made it in broad daylight,  i did not leave the pot under the bed with a rusty knife on top, i let the 2 pots(crockpots) sitting on the dinning table, perhaps if you make the wine in a glass bottle, it will be better to put it away from the light.  According to one of the myths - one should leave the pot alone without peeking, i, of course, have been opening the lids of both the pots and checking for green stuff growing and have been tasting the wine as days go by.  Despite of being so rebelious, the wine turned out so sweet and not too alcohlic.  The one with the red rice yeast tasted better than the plain one and had more wine, perhaps the extra yeast present in the red rice gave the extra kick and for the extra wine, i think i had sprinkled in an extra cup of water. The whole process was worth it and now my younger friends can have Rice Wine Chicken during their confinement, just inform me and i will brew some.


8 cups/2.2 lbs/1 kg long grain white glutinous rice
1 pc wine yeast (bigger kind brought from Malaysia)
1 pc wine yeast (small kind available in any asian stores here in the States)
1 cup red rice yeast (also available in the asian stores here)
2 cups filtered water for sprinkling.


Wash the glutinous rice, drain, and place in rice cooker with enough water to cover the surface(it is just like cooking regular jasmine rice). Put to cook, and when rice is cooked, remove from the rice cooker, then spread it onto foil covered baking sheets and leave to cool completely.(make sure new foil is used to cover the baking sheets)  Rice must be completely cold before use.

Using a clean coffee grinder, grind the wine yeast and red rice yeast into powder.

To assemble:

Sprinkle a little wine yeast mixture on to a crockpot and then layer with rice(wet hands with the filtered water and flatten a handful and use it for layering). 

Sprinkle with more rice yeast all over the rice and then sprinkle with the filtered water.

Repeat the layering - rice, rice yeast and water until all the rice is done.

Lastly pour the remainder of the filtered water.

Cover crockpot with a clean cloth and then the lid.

Leave it to ferment for 7 days, then open lid and give mixture a good stir with a clean wooden spoon.

Cover crockpot with the clean cloth and lid and leave to brew for another 14 days(the total brewing time is 21 days - if you prefer a stronger alcoholic wine leave for another 7 days).

Wine can be harvested on the 21st or 30th day.

Prepare a sieve or a colander and line it with a clean cloth.  Put it over a pot to catch the wine.

Put the brewed wine mixture onto the cloth and let the wine dripped.(patience in letting the wine drip slowly will result in very clear wine).

When all the wine has dripped and the residue is quite dry, remove the residue and store it in a jar or air tight container for many more other recipes.

Bring the wine to a quick boil (my wine started to boil at 180f and of course it is cos i am one mile above sea-level)

Let the wine cool before bottling.

Wine is now to be enjoyed in any way you wish.



Mary Bergfeld said...

Lily you are amazing. I really loved this post and the background information you provided on the wine. I love to visit here. I always learn something new. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Claire said...

Ha Ha Lily! I think it was a success! You're a official "moonshiner" now. Can't wait to see your other recipes using both the wine and the wine residue!

Angie Fern Ng said...

Congratulation Lily, great success. I have not tried out yet despite the urge to try all this long, just like what you said, worry about the lots of superstitious and taboo.

Maybe I shall try one day. Thanks for the photos.

All the best and regards.

Peng said...

Well Lily, you got me motivated! Sad to say that my motivation through the years had stopped at just purchasing the wine yeast. My first memory of my mom opening the lid of the wine brewing pot and letting me taste a spoon has gotten me hook for life. It was the best! I was too young to know of all the superstitions so I have the advantage of a clean slate. No more excuses !!!

Peng said...

BTW, I look forward to tasting the fruit of your labors today. Can't wait! If you don't hear from me means I'm dead drunk.

Unknown said...

That is cool that you made your own rice wine.

Anonymous said...


Wonder if I could use another type of yeast? My late husband friend mother rice wine she made is like light brown color. The red one look very pretty also.


Lydia said...

Hi Lily,
Thanks for your recipe, will try it somedays. Perhaps some homemade sake as well. :) I think it's illegal to brew at home in Malaysia... shhhhh


Angie Fern Ng said...

I read from the China's web that by adding some water to the wine residue and keep brewing for another 21 days, you will get some wine venigar.

The lid of the jar has be to be left half open and you need to stir in some air everyday.

Maybe you can give it a try since you have some fresh wine residue with you.

Hanni said...

hi Lily,

if i can't get the big pc of malaysian yeast, how much of the American yeast should i use in total??

is ur red wine chicken recipe posted??

u got me all so excited!!!

u the best lah~

MaryMoh said...

I love this wine. My mom used to make a lot when we were young. My mother-in-law still makes it. Really nice for cooking chicken and mi suah....mmmm

Bakericious said...

my MIL make the rice wine at home too :)

Unknown said...

sie fern

thsnks for the tip, will make it now and give a feedback after 21 days.

The Bakerwoman said...

Aunty Lily
the red wine looks good....

You are a gem!


Cakebrain said...

how adventurous and ambitious you are! I would never think to brew my own rice wine! what a great idea...because you never know what the stuff made in China has in it! hm.

Kandy's Kitchen @ bigheadmagicmad said...

Hi, Great Lily! This is the most detail chinese wine making post that i can find. Thank You so much I have learn a lot from you.:)

Mei Sze said...

Wow!! When I was a kid, I dreamt that I could one day brew this rice of my mom's family friend makes really good rice wine and delivers bottle loads of them to us although I have always wondered why it was such a 'hush hush' exchange..and then I caught words like "shhhhhhhhhhh...its illegal" and then mom hides them in the lower cabinets I guess its safe for home consumption..the wine tastes so good with ginger chicken..awesome stuff..I probably will take awhile to gather the different wine yeasts..can you enlighten me as to what form the red rice yeast comes in? I've never heard of it before.....Thank you..

Angie Fern Ng said...

Red yeast rice is called 红麴米in Mandarin. It is a kind of dried fermented rice. They mix a kind of yeast (红麴) to some cooked and cooled rice (cooled to 50 degree C), and leave the rice for 3 days to ferment. After 3 days, the rice is covered by a layer of red mould, the rice is then dried before sold at the Traditional Chinese Medicine Hall.

The property of this red yeast rice can help to reduce high blood cholesterol. There are some HCl medicines in the market that use red yeast as the ingredient.

Chinese also use red yeast rice in cooking for the color, for example they boil the red yeast rice in some water to bath the duck before roasting it, and also some will grind the rice into powder and mix to their cooked rice as a remedy to lower their blood cholesterole.

I use this yeast rice powder to add color to my dried pork (Long york) and char siew(barbecue pork)marinate, in addition to the color, and in hope to reduce the extra cholesterol....

Unknown said...

siew fern

thank you so much for this wonderful tip, so all of us with higher cholesterol level, use red rice powder.

Angie Fern Ng said...

Dear Lily,
Below is the extract from an article published on :

Red yeast rice is the product of yeast ( Monascus purpureus ) grown on rice, and is served as a dietary staple in some Asian countries. It contains several compounds collectively known as monacolins, substances known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis. One of these, "monacolin K," is a potent inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase, and is also known as mevinolin or lovastatin (Mevacor®, a drug produced by Merck & Co., Inc).

Red yeast rice extract has been sold as a natural cholesterol-lowering agent in over the counter supplements, such as Cholestin TM (Pharmanex, Inc). However, there has been legal and industrial dispute as to whether red yeast rice is a drug or a dietary supplement, involving the manufacturer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the pharmaceutical industry (particularly producers of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor prescription drugs or "statins").

The use of red yeast rice in China was first documented in the Tang Dynasty in 800 A.D. A detailed description of its manufacture is found in the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia, Ben Cao Gang Mu-Dan Shi Bu Yi, published during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In this text, red yeast rice is proposed to be a mild aid for gastric problems (indigestion, diarrhea), blood circulation, and spleen and stomach health.

Hope the above can eases the doubt of some of your fans to try out this gem.

Unknown said...

siew fern

you are a gem and thank you. i am sure my fans will be very grateful and appreciate this info.

Unknown said...

nei sze

the red rice yeast that i have comes in the rice form(broken rice) and i grind it to powder together with the wine yeast(ragi) before spreading them over the cooled glutinous rice

Rachel said...

Hi Lily... i was just wondering if you'll be interested to sell your homemade Glutinous Rice Wine? I'll be expecting a baby this coming winter and been scouting for Malaysian Glutinous Rice Wine for a while now. I would really appreciate if you could pm me on this. My email :

noobcook said...

as half a hockchew, this post really caught my attention. I love love love red glutinous wine and "ang zao mee suah" is my fave one dish meal. Have wanted to learn from my aunts for very long but didn't have a chance yet. Your post and the photos are certainly very inspiring. congratulations on ur success :)

Acai Berry said...

Ha Ha Lily! I think it was a success! You're a official "moonshiner" now. Can't wait to see your other recipes using both the wine and the wine residue!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,
I'm gonna give the homemade white glutinous rice wine a try.
I need some clarifications.In total you used one big piece and one small piece of wine yeast for the white glutinous rice wine.What is the different in size?
Could you give an estimated weight of wine yeast used?

Angie Fern Ng said...


Please tell us the approx. weight of total yeast used because I'm from Penang and I also wondering how big is the big and how small is the small, the size of the yeasts you are using. Given the weight then we won't be too far away.....

Thanks & best regards.

Unknown said...

anonymous and siew fern

luckily i have 3 big ragi from malaysia and they weigh 14gm to 16 gm. the smaller ones from the asian stores here in denver which are 2 in a pack weighs 21gm to 22 gms.

Anonymous said...

Is boiling to get rid of alcohol? How long do I need to let it boil?

Unknown said...


turn off the heat/fire as soon as it starts to boil. it is to kill the yeast so that it will not continue to react and turn the wine to vinegar.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I made my first badge of "successful" rice wine (after 1 previous failure) and will be harvesting in 2 days. Need your advice, do I need to store the wine in the fridge or just room temperature? How about the residue, I guess it need to be boiled too? Thanks.

Angie Fern Ng said...

Hi Lily,

Can you please tell us how is the harvest of your second round brewing? Do you get some vinegar?

Regards and happy cooking.

Rebecca Lee said...

Hi Lily.

Thanks so much for posting this white and red wine. My mother never make Red yeast rice/ 红麴米 wine, I bought a pk of the 红麴米 and still standing in my freezer. As I don;t know how to add to the pulut!! Will make it this weekends. I will fly to Paris in Nov as my daughter will give birth her 2nd son. This red wine is just in time for me to bring over !!

Thanks again Lily, you're always the greatest !! Your are an angel who send by God to teacher us all delicious food, desserts and now wine !!

I was very daring as I saw my mom made the pulut wine when I was under 12 years old !! 10 years ago, I tried to make some and it turned out great -- very sweet, I let it fermented for 3 days only!! I told my mom but she asked me to leave it for 1 week, so I made again and waited for 7 days, the wine turned to be slt bitter and I just did not feel like throwing them away but just filter them and keep in the bottles and forgotten abut the wine. 3 years later my maid found them and asked me what were those !! I opened and tasted it, my goodness, it turned into wine, just like the wine that we bought from China for cooking, slt brown in color!! No more bitterness. Surprise ??

Hope your fans will keep them just like me if it did not turn out right.

I was told that if we don't make them into clear rice wine, it is ok. I saw my grandma did once, but can't remember how she did it. Just remembered that she boiled the wine and collect the steam and the clear wine is formed.

Unknown said...


the wine can be kept on the counter cos it has been boiled and the yeast has been killed. The residue has to be kept in the fridge cos the yeast is still in there and will grow further.

Unknown said...

siew fern

i just went to taste the vinegar, it is not sour yet.

Angie Fern Ng said...


Do you stir the content daily? I read we must stir the content everyday to feed the yeast some oxygen.

Unknown said...

siew fern

no, i did not, i just left it covered with a cloth

Angie Fern Ng said...

Oh, maybe that's why your vinegar is not sour yet.

The instruction I read says to stir daily.


Unknown said...

siew fern

thanks, will stir everyday and see how it goes

Yvonne said...

Hi lily

Is this the fuchow version of 红酒? i am so excited when I saw this, I have been wanting to learn how to make it. I like adding it in my chicken soup!!!


Unknown said...


it is the foochow version and good luck in your brewing

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,
I try to brew the rice wine using yeast from China. After a day, a coating appeared on top. Is it turning bad or normal?

Unknown said...


just leave it alone for another 2 more days, if it does not turn green or pink, i think it is ok. Taste the juice, if it tastes sweet than you are on the right path.

Angie Fern Ng said...

Dear Lily,

Any vinegar harvested so far?

Best regards & happy cooking!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lily,

It all sounds so easy. I've boldly taken on my second attempt. Not sure if it is on the right track, everything done as described. I noticed some whitish cottony look "mold" on the red rice wine. Not sure where I went wrong. There is no bad smell, just that the extra that has come up. Can you help ? I really missed the rice wine and would like to successfully make it right.
Thanks in advance.


Unknown said...


i really don't know why there is mold on the surface. Can you scoop the moldy part and see how the fermentation goes. If it does not smell bad, i think you should be good

Send Flowers to Noida said...

My first memory of my mom opening the lid of the wine brewing pot and letting me taste a spoon has gotten me hook for life. It was the best! I was too young to know of all the superstitions so I have the advantage of a clean slate. No more excuses.

maqui berry said...

That is a great idea, I love rice wine.

Anonymous said...

Hi all brewers

Does anyone have any idea why my wine turn out soooo sweet? Its too sweet to the extend of causing some discomfort to the throat. I used 2kg rice to 4 wine biscuits (sweet type) and of course red rice. I harvest the wine after 2 weeks. Should I cut down on wine biscuit or extend fermentation time?

Sweet Tooth

Unknown said...

sweet tooth

i like the wine to be sweet and do not like it so strong of alcohol. Wine after 2 weeks uaually is sweeter than 20 - 30 days as alcohol has not developed. Ferment longer and your wine will not be sweet.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily
My husband is very interested in trying out your recipe and would like to ask the following:
Question 1:
1 pc wine yeast (Asian)
1 pc wine yeast (American)
Do we use both or either one would be sufficient?
Question 2:
What is red rice yeast?
Question 3:
What is filtered water?

Thanks a lot, Pauline

Unknown said...


if the malaysian kind which is bigger is not available use 3 pieces of the smaller ones which are available in the asian stores in the States. If you are in Malaysia, you can use 1 1/2 pieces of the big ones.

red rice yeast is available in the asian stores and they look like broken rice but very dark red. If in malaysia, as the chinese med. shop for 'hoong cook'.

if you have a filter at home, use the water that has gone through this filter, if not boil the water and then let it cool completely or buy a bottle of drinking water.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lily for your prompt reply.

Another few questions:
If we dont have a crock pot, can we use any claypot or stainless steel pot, or porcelin pot with cover (where the people in China used to store rice, etc)?

Instead of layering the yeast, rice, and yeast etc., can we mix it all together and cover it? This would be easier.

Is it better to soak the rice overnight before cooking because some recipes said so?

For your kind advice please.

BTW, my husband would be trying out this weekend!

Thanks, Pauline

Anonymous said...

Hi friend,

if you boil your 'chiew', then all the alcohol vaporize lar... ethanol becomes vapor at 65'C and Methanol ( something you should not drink)vaporize at 48'C... if you want to keep your "todee", then you can keep it in the fridge...

Unknown said...


thanks for the tip.

i boil the chiew so as to prevent it from fermenting further, guess we like the goodness and not the alcohol. If you like to serve with a higher alcohol content, add during cooking.

Bouquet delivery in Delhi said...

I just love eating different food and here you have shared delicious recipes. I will definitely try them out.

Unknown said...


Do you know any company or anybody manufactures the rice wine in large quantity?

Thank you.

Unknown said...

jasper yeo

i am sorry, i do not know of any manufacturer

Sunshine said...

Hello I was just wondering is ur 1kg of rice for red wine or white wine or both? U also mentioned u added some ragi to the red yeast. How much? Sorry I need clarifications. Hope u can get back to me asap as I already have my rice steamed and waiting to be cooled down. Thank you very much for sharing your recipe.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lily,

How to get clear wine? I used a cloth over the sieve but the liquid could not drip down, so I used by hand to twist the cloth to extract the wine. Then I poured the cloudy wine to a clean cloth again, the liquid still could not drip down. I notice that the fine residue settle on the cloth preventing the liquid to drip down.

Thanks and best regards,

Unknown said...


i use a muslin cloth, perhaps the cloth you use is very finely knitted. With patience, you will have fine wine with no residue.

gems said...

Hi Lily, how many botlles/ml of rice wine is made from your recipe? Thanks

Unknown said...


you see the first picture in my post, just 1 1/2 bottle.

Unknown said...

Hi can anyone help me with my problem I have started a batch of rice wine and im 2 days in but there is a white fluffy like mould substance growing is this normal

Unknown said...


sorry for the late reply.

i do not have enough of experience to wine brewing and i think your question is answered here carol has answered your question.

Unknown said...

Hi Lily,

Are you still brewing rice wine? Can you brew it in winter or must it be done when the weather is warm?


Unknown said...


i have not brewed for a long time. yes, you can brew anytime of the year, it only takes longer tor ferment if your kitchen or house temp is colder

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