A Step-By-Step to Homemade Fermented Rice Wine

Chinese cuisine would be incomplete if not for the array of snacks passed on from generation to generation.

Of those, one of the oldest, and perhaps tastiest, is the impeccable dish,láo zāo(醪糟 fermented glutinous rice wine), otherwise referred to as mǐ jiǔ (米酒) or jiǔ niàng(酒酿). This seeming cross between a pudding(布丁,bù dīng) and soup is typically translated as fermented glutinous rice wine due to its alcoholic nature, however, the alcohol(酒精,jiǔ jīng) is barely noticeable and children are often introduced to it very early on in life. Fermented glutinous rice wine cooked with glutinous rice balls (汤圆,tāng yuán) is a traditional food for marking the end of Chinese New Year.

A Step-By-Step to Homemade Fermented Rice Wine

A Step-By-Step to Homemade Fermented Rice Wine

How to make fermented glutinous rice wine

As with all fermentation recipes, cleanliness is paramount. Make sure that everything that will come into contact with the rice is clean(干净,gān jìng) and sterile(无菌,wú jūn) before you begin, and at every step along the way. Otherwise, mould(霉菌,méi jūn) will develop and you will have to start again.

Cook a bowl of glutinous rice in a rice cooker(电饭锅,diàn fàn guō). After it’s cooled down(冷却,lěng què), transfer the glutinous rice into a plastic food container. Boil a kettle(壶,hú) of water and wait for that to cool down as well. Once both substances are at room temperature(室温,shì wēn), gradually pour the water into the rice while using a pair of chopsticks(筷子,kuài zi) to separate the individual rice pieces. Do not add too much water – just enough to come level with the top layer of rice.


1. Cook the rice

2. Take a packet of rice leaven (甜酒曲,tián jiǔ qǔ) and sprinkle it onto the rice. This powder will stimulate the fermentation(发酵,fā jiào) process. Using chopsticks or other utensils, stir the mixture until the powder is fully dissolved.

3. Make a hole(洞,dòng) in the center of the rice so any alcohol produced can gather there.

4.Close the lid of the plastic container and place it somewhere in your house. Anywhere is fine as long as(只要,zhǐ yào) it’s not directly under the sun. Leave it there to brew for the next two days. The temperature must be maintained above(之上,zhī shàng) 20 degrees Celsius, which is why summer is the ideal season for this process.

5. After two days the fermented glutinous rice wine is ready! You can add lily petals(百合,bǎi hé), goji berries(枸杞,gǒu qǐ), and egg to make a tasty soup.

6. To do this, take out a packet of dried lilies and soak the pieces in a bowl of cool tap water(自来水,zì lái shuǐ). Let the water soften the petals for an hour or so. Bring a pot of water to boil, then transfer the fermented glutinous rice into the boiling water.

6. Bring the pot back up to boil. This time while you wait(等待,děng dài), take out a package of dried goji berries and rinse them in tap water. Once it’s boiled, place both the goji berries and soaked lilies inside and stir(搅拌,jiǎo bàn) the mixture.

7. Wait for it to boil again. Meanwhile, prepare a raw egg(生鸡蛋,shēng jī dàn) and crack it directly into the pot. This time, make sure to stir the mixture thoroughly and wait for it to boil one last time before bringing it to the dinner table. Depending on your preference(喜好,xǐ hào), extra white sugar can be added after it’s served.

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