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
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.
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.