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My friend made some red glutinous rice wine with the ‘wine cake’ (酒饼) that she specially bought in Malaysia. I remembered she made it more than 3 months ago in 2021 and out of excitement for her, I asked if she can let me have some. Last month, she gave me a big bottle of the rice wine and the red glutinous wine lees. It has a beautiful shade of maroon red, due to the red yeast rice residue. Thank you very much, Jessie!
Red glutinous rice wine is made by fermenting cooked white glutinous rice mixed with red yeast rice, and Chinese red yeast for about 30 days. Gas bubbles are released during the fermentation process and the wine will be produced over time.
Making glutinous rice wine seems to be a holy and yet secretive affair. The whole process of making it is very ‘pang tang’, meaning it’s superstitious. The maker needs to be in a good mood and always be saying positive things, in order to produce good tasting rice wine. And because making alcohol at home is not a very legal thing to do in the old days, the housewive aunties in the neighbourhood will keep mum about making these homemade wines and only share among the inner circle.
It is also believed that the most authentic and ‘fragrant’ ingredient, the ‘wine cake’ (酒饼) is exclusively available in some parts of Malaysia, only close relatives or friends will risk bringing it over for you to Singapore across the immigration customs.
As you can see, such sacredness of the end-to-end process making the wine and the scarcity of the wine makes the red glutinous rice wine a much valued prized commodity that is only shared with the closest of friends and family. I felt very honoured my dear friend gifted me with her labour of love.
I love eating the red glutinous wine chicken and drinking the wine as it’s so full of naturally sweet umami flavours. This dish is commonly eaten during confinement as the ingredients help promote blood circulation, improve digestion and lower cholesterol. Speaking of confinement food, do check out my mummy’s recipe on Pig’s Trotter Vinegar 猪脚醋, our family (guys too) would sometimes indulge in this rich flavourful dish.
Watch how to cook Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken 红糟鸡
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Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken 红糟鸡
- 1 kg chicken cleaned and chopped
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 100 g old ginger peeled and julienned
- 250 g red glutinous wine lees (红糟)
- 500 ml red glutinous rice wine
- Parsley optional as garnish
- Peel and crush 4 cloves of garlic. Peel and julienne the ginger into strips.4 cloves garlic, 100 g old ginger
- Warm 3 tbsp sesame oil over medium heat in a deep pot. Add half of the ginger strips and fry until slightly brown and crisp. Set aside to use as garnish later. Leave the oil in the pot.3 tbsp sesame oil
- In the same pot, add 4 cloves of crushed garlic and the other half of the ginger strips and sauté till aromatic.
- Add 1 kg of chopped chicken and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally.1 kg chicken
- Add 250g red glutinous wine lees (红糟) and stir fry to mix evenly with the chicken.250 g red glutinous wine lees (红糟)
- Add half of the red glutinous rice wine and stir to mix well. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and cover with lid to simmer for about 20 minutes. The chicken will release moisture while cooking.500 ml red glutinous rice wine
- Add the other half of the red glutinous rice wine (optional if you would like more gravy). Mix to cook evenly for about 1 minute. Turn off heat. Note: optional to add seasoning such as salt and pepper, the dish is already quite flavourful without.500 ml red glutinous rice wine
- Serve warm with rice, or mee sua, or on its own. Garnish with fried ginger strips and parsley.Parsley