Written and illustrated by Misa Ono
Making amazake at home is easy but difficult. The ingredients are steamed rice, rice koji and warm water, very easy to get them. And what you have to do is also very easy as just to mix them all. So what is so difficult? The problem is that you have to keep the temperature at 60 degrees for 8-10 hours.
Koji’s enzyme don’t work actively at the temperature lower than 60, but they die at higher than 60. 60 degree is the key temperature for koji to ferment and change the glucose of rice to sugar.
You can use thermos pot, rice cooker or any specific machine to keep the temperature at 60 to make amazake. It is quite hard. But amazake has great effects to health and beauty and tastes good, so I want you to make it! Now I found an easy way to make amazake. That’s with a thermos bottle that you usually use for coffee or water. To make it even easier, the ingredients I tell you here are only koji and hot water.
Heat up the bottle (360-500ml) by pouring boiled water, then throw it away. Pour 200-250ml of 60 degrees of water, add 100g of rice koji (break if it’s blocks) and mix them well. Cover with a lid and leave it for 10 to 12 hours.
When you taste it, it should be sweet as if you have added sugar. If not, leave it for longer or reheat the water to 60 degrees. Once it is ready, transfer it to a sealed container and keep it in the fridge.
To keep it longer, keep it in the freezer since it slowly ferments in the fridge. It can be eaten as a sorbet in summer time!
There was a big thermos pot in my house before, and my father used it to keep hot water for shochu (*). Shochu mixing with hot water was his favorite way to drink shochu. One day, my mother was making amazake in the pot. My father didn’t know that and poured what he believed was hot water into his shochu…. Oh well.
When you make amazake at home, just let your family know that you are making amazake so some disaster like my father’s incident won’t happen!
(*) Japanese spirit mainly made of rice, barley or potato.