Thursday, July 23, 2009

Homebrew Chinese Rice Wine aka ang chow, ang chew recipe.

Chinese rice wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented glutinous rice and in general has a wide colour variations from an old port or dry Sherry to the clarity of a Japanese sake. But I've had a few requests for a homebrewed Chinese red rice wine recipe, commonly know as 'ang chiew',or ang chow in most Southern Chinese dialects. I do not know whether it is illegal to brew your own wine in Singapore but it is an opened secret among the older folks that this homebrew can be easily purchased from openly known moonshiners and stocked up in the pantry in preparation for the arrival of a child. It has always played a major role in the "confinement diet" of new mother, when it comes to the observation of the month long period of restrictions and food following the birth of a newborn. It is perhaps the oldest alcoholic beverage and hailed from generation to generation among the Chinese Singaporeans, so there's little that can be said with absolute authority to doubt the goodness of this home brew red rice wine. The only thing that always holds true with this home brew with my family is that it is simply delicious with my mother-in law's "ang chow mee sua" (Chinese red wine with chicken and wheat noodle). Many Singaporeans tend to associate ang chew with the vivid red colour they impart to the chicken noodle soup. I am sure that the red colour which is considered lucky to the Chinese, has made angchew mee sua a popular dish for the Chinese Year or birthday celebrations. But in my family, we'll find an excuse to have this delicious dish, anytime.

I don't have a set in stone recipe for my ang chow recipe, but I have to rely on my memory to retrieve the recipe my late mother-in-law left me. Since I was asked for one, I'll give it a shot, in my usual 'can do' fashion with cooking. I have only started this homebrew a week ago and would like to share my first attempt to moonshine this homemade samsu ( illegal brew) with you. Wish
me luck.


1.1kg glutinous rice
2. Two pieces of wine yeast cake (chew pia)
3. 90g red rice yeast "ang kark" (Monascus Purpureus),
4. 500cc. Boiled cool water.

Preparation :

Soak Glutinous rice for at least 8 hours. Drain and then steam the rice over a bamboo steamer lined with a piece of cheese cloth over boiling water for at least 30 minute or until rice is cooked. Spread the rice out on a tray and allow to cool for 3 hours. Blend ang-kark and chew pia together until powdery in a electric grinder.
Set aside a bowl for mixing the glutinous rice with the blended dry ingredients. Mix a generous amount of glutinous rice with some red powder ( blended ingredients ). Continue mixing till all are used up.
Store in a cool dark place for example, in your store room .One week later from the first day, pour the fermented ang chow into the white cloth bag allowing wine to filter through. And let ferment for as long as 2 months. When ready, dish out all the rice wine storing it in another clean bottle.
Tips: The wine yeast and the red rice yeast (monascus purpureus) can be purchased from many Asian grocery stores around Sydney.


  1. You guys have to wait for at 2 months before we taste it lah. You'll be invited for the wine tasting at my place. I'll give a weekly posting on its progress.

  2. Hi, I'm a university student in the US looking to do a semester project making rice wine. In my family (I'm chinese) we make the same thing except we do not use the red rice yeast. I'm very interested in your technique because we usually consume the wine after one week, and i was told by my aunt that if I fermented it for more than 2 weeks it will go bad. Could you tell me more about how you let it ferment for 2 months? I'd appreciate your assistance. thanks

  3. Hi Hellena,
    Thanks for your visit. After reading your comment, I tasted the rice wine which I have make for this blog in July. I am pleased to report that it is still great and hasn't turned sour or mouldy. It is still fermenting! It bubbled like a sparkling wine when I pour it into a glass. I think what your family making is a sweet rice wine that is eaten as a dessert. Please do not hesitate to email me, if there is anything I can help in your uni assignment.


  4. hi Phil
    thanks for your assistance, I'm really excited about this wine and I'm starting this weekend! I have a few questions though about the part "allowing wine to filter through. And let ferment..."
    1. when you filter the wine, do you do anything with the rice?
    2. what kind of vessel do you store the wine in for 2 months, and how cool?
    3. should I cap the vessel tightly?
    thanks again, Hellena

  5. Hi Hellena,
    1. The residue can be used to marinate chicken or pork.
    2. Any glass or ceramic container is good for storing the fermenting wine. It was kept around 20 degree Celsius.
    3. It was cap tightly and open every 2-3days to release the gas trapped.

  6. Hi Uncle Phil, I am Jeffrey Ong 's wife my name is Yen. I have a question, when to use the 500cc cool boiled water that you mentioned on top ? Now I am socking the rice, tomorrow will steam the rice and blend the "Hong cao" and "Jiu Ping"..

    Many thanks, Yen

  7. Hi Yen,
    Hi Yen,
    Welcome to the blog and wine club. Add the water after you mixed in the Hong cao and jiu Ping.You can add 1/2 to 1 litres of water to the make the cooked rice wet and meshie. Good Luck.

  8. Hi Uncle Phil,

    My name is Tobias. Could you tell me the weight of one piece of chew pia that you used? Because I'm not sure whether I use the same size of chew pia or not.

    Thank you,


  9. Hi Tobias,
    The yeast(chew pia) is bought from the store. I haven't used it for a while but I will find out the weight when I go to the store again.

  10. Thanks Uncle Phil, I can't wait to know about the weight :)

    By the way, I read some articles about making ang chew. All of the suggest to use glass container to do the fermentation. Do you have any idea why none of the tell us to use plastic container?



    1. Hi Tobias,
      Sorry I haven't been to the store to shop yet. I'll do it this weekend. Many favour glass over plastic because Containers not labelled for food or beverage storage could release harmful chemicals into the wine. Never use a container that has held toxic substances, because tiny amounts may remain in the container's pores. Some plastic containers may affect the taste of stored wine.