Amazake is a sweet beverage made from koji rice. It is typically served as a warm drink flavored with fresh ginger. It can also be used as a natural sweetener or a vegan dairy alternative. Here’s how to make this simple rice drink.
What is Amazake?
Amazake is a traditional Japanese drink made from fermented rice called koji rice. Koji rice is rice that has had a particular strain of mold (koji kin) cultured on it. It is a really easy and reliable way to ferment, even for beginners. It’s why I LOVE koji ferments, including miso and shio koji.
In this recipe koji rice is used to breakdown the complex carbohydrates in rice to simple sugars. It happens at a temperature that’s a bit too warm for fermentation. It’s the enzymes in the koji rice that are doing to work of transforming rice. The result is a sweet and delicious beverage.
This process improves the nutritional value of rice and includes many nutrients. It is also good for gut health and digestion!
How to Serve Amazake
Homemade amazake has a sweet and toasty flavor. It is very versatile and can be used both as a beverage and for baking. Here are a few ways to use your koji amazake:
1. Warming Beverage
It is traditionally served as a warm spiced beverage. Here’s how to mix amazake into a warm beverage:
- Mix 1 part amazake with 1 part boiling water.
- Taste, and add more water if necessary.
- Served with a pinch of grated fresh ginger. (I also like to add a pinch of ground cinnamon).
2. Vegan Milk Substitute
Homemade amazake is a rich and delicious substitute for milk. Serve it for both hot and cold beverages or poured over a bowl of cereal.
To turn the rice paste into a vegan milk substitute, mix 1 part amazake with 2 parts water. Taste, and add more water, to taste.
3. As a sweetener for baking
Amazake is very similar to rice syrup. Since it is naturally sweet, it can replace sugar in the recipe. I’m pretty big into sugar-free baking, so I’ll admit these substitutions might not be as sweet as typical baking. However, the richness of the koji rice will improve your baking.
Here’s a few ways to use it for baking:
- Use it to replace liquid sweeteners.
- Add it as a substitute for milk, and reduce the amount of sugar.
Since it’s naturally sweet, it is perfect for dessert!
Amazake is a sweet toasty beverage made from koji rice. It is delicious, served warm with fresh ginger, or used as a vegan dairy substitute. See the sections above for 4 different serving options.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 cups 1x
- Category: Beverages
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Diet: Vegan
- 1/2 cup rice (white or brown)
- 1 1/2 cups of water (for cooking
- 1/2 cup koji rice
- 1/2 cup water (chlorine-free, enough to cover)
- Rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking to wash away the starch.
- Bring the rice and water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, until soft. Drain off the excess water.
- Allow the rice to cool to around 130 F (60 C). Mix in koji rice. Then pack the rice mixture into a glass jar for fermentation. Cover with water (about 1/2 cup, as needed), then cap with a lid to keep the moisture. There’s no need to use a fermentation-specific lid as it won’t bubble. Incubate at 130 F (60 C) for up to 16 hours. See notes for advice on how to incubate.
- After fermenting, puree into a smooth paste. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It should last for 1 month in the fridge. Otherwise, freeze for long-term storage.
- Amazake is made at quite a hot temperature compared to yogurt and tempeh. The easiest way to maintain the right temperature is to use a rice cooker or a slow cooker set on warm.
- If you really get into fermenting, I recommend a Brød & Taylor Slow Cooker which I use for most of my ferments. My box only goes to 120 F, which isn’t ideal, but it’s still hot enough to make amazake.
- The nutritional profile of amazake depends on the temperature and length of time, so it isn’t possible to provide accurate information.
Keywords: vegan, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, milk, probiotic, breakfast, baking, fall, winter