By Saneyuki Owada
Have you ever tried Amazake (甘酒)? Maybe it is time for you to try!
Amazake is a traditional Japanese healthy drink. Amazake literally means “SWEET SAKE,” however it does not contain any alcohol or sweeteners. It is a natural beverage. Amazake is made from “Rice Koji (Malted Rice)” and it is high in fiber and has complex carbohydrates content, vitamins and minerals. Amazake is believed to be very nutritious and good for skin, hair and also can help metabolic stimulation.
You may be wondering why we have singled out this drink in this article, but actually there is a good reason. Although it can be drunk cold or hot, in the winter most Japanese people enjoy drinking it hot in order to warm up their body, so it can be considered a winter drink.
On the other hand in the summer it is drunk cold so that it helps people deal with the summer heat. It may sound like a drink that should only have a recent history, but in fact it dates back to over 1600 years ago. There was no central heating in the winter, no A/C in the summer and nutritional diets could be poor, however it was hit upon that just with rice and water people could make a healthy drink that could also help the body fight against the summer heat or wintery weather. As this drink has been around so long it has even become part of folklore, at the end of this article you can read about the ghost Amazake Baba!
In a way it became a kind of miracle cure for all kinds of ailments.
Have a cold? Have some Amazake.
Have a poor stomach? Drink some Amazake.
Very hungover? Lets make some Amazake!
So why don’t you try to drink or make it?
So I, Japanstore.jp director Saneyuki, tried to make Amazake with a thermos flask.
300g of rice koji
300cc of hot water (heated up to 60 degrees Celsius)
*If it looks too thick, add more water.
1. Set same amount of Rice Koji and water (60 degrees Celsius).
2. Heat up water until 60 degrees Celsius.
It’s very important to keep the temperature around 60 degrees Celsius for the fermentation to take place. Otherwise you will not get delicious sweet Amazake.
3. Mix and keep the temperature at 60 degrees Celsius.
So it is good to prepare heat indicator. So you won’t miss it!
4. Pour it into the thermos flask.
5. Leave it for 8 hours.
Be careful, the inner temperature is important so if you have a chance it is better to reheat it to 60 degrees Celsius in mid-flow.
You can now enjoy it cold or hot! It sweetens naturally by the activity of the enzymes of rice koji.
If you have a chance to get Ric Koji, I recommend to try to make Amazake the Japanese traditional healthy energy drink! You can add it your morning smoothie! No need to add sugar!
Be warned! In Aomori and Miyagi Prefectures there is an old tale of an old woman with blood on her face and clothes who knocks on people’s doors late at night. If you open the door she will ask for a cup of Amazake in a weirdly soft voice, if you give her a cup then she will leave without any unfortunate consequences, but if you refuse then she will curse everyone in the house.
Her name is Amazake Baba (甘酒婆)!
I think I need a cup of Amazake to fortify myself against the chill of that scary story!