If you're looking for a warming, comforting winter drink, look no further than this Ginger Amazake!
Amazake is a traditional Japanese drink made from fermented rice. It's thought to date from as far back as 250 AD, and literally means "sweet sake", although it is usually either non-alcoholic or has a very low alcohol content, depending on how it's made.
Amazake is made using koji mould, which doesn't sound particularly pleasant, but don't be put off!
This fungus, also known as aspergillus oryzae, is really important in traditional Japanese cuisine, and is also used to make miso, soy sauce, and natto.
Amazake is traditionally served as a hot drink, which is made by heating together amazake and ginger.
This drink used to be served by street vendors, and nowadays is popular served at stalls at festivals. It's also often served at shrines at New Year's.
Being naturally sweet, amazake can also be used for desserts or smoothies. It's often used for weaning babies as it's easy to digest.
The unprocessed version looks like rice pudding, but when it’s pureed it has the consistency of cream. It is usually served thinned out with water so that it has the consistency of milk.
While bottled or canned amazake is readily available, making it yourself is surprisingly easy.
All you need is rice, kome kōji, which is available at many supermarkets or online, and plain water. You can use either with a rice cooker or yogurt maker.
You can buy buy amazake from Asian supermarkets and some local health stores too.
If you buy a ready-made amazake, this Ginger Amazake drink couldn't be easier to make! All you need to do is grate some ginger and let steep in boiling water. Then strain to get rid of the ginger and stir in the amazake.
I love the combination of the naturally sweet amazake with the fiery ginger. They pair together to create a delicious and nutritious warming drink that's perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up! It's also vegan, gluten-free and naturally sweet.
Looking for more interesting drinks? You might like my:
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Ginger Amazake (Vegan + GF)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cm (½ inch) ginger, grated (or sub ¼ teaspoon ground ginger)
- 4 teaspoons amazake or more to taste
- Add ginger to hot water and let steep for 5 minutes
- Strain into a mug and stir in the amazake
- For an easier version, you can just add the ground ginger, boiling water and amazake into a mug at the same time and stir together
- Enjoy immediately!
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