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Fermented Red Glutinous Rice Wine (红糟)

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Adjust Servings:
1kg Glutinous Rice
125g Wine Cake (Yeast)
75g Red Rice
250ml Rose Wine

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Fermented Red Glutinous Rice Wine (红糟)

Fragrant Fermented Red Glutinous Rice Wine sauce for making famous Hong Zao Ji.

  • 43D
  • Serves 50
  • Medium




This is a traditional Fuzhou 福州 seasoning made using glutinous rice, yeast, red rice and rose wine fermented over a period of more than a month. Once the fermented red glutinous rice wine 红糟 is ready, it can be stored in the fridge for a year and used to cook the famous  Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken 红糟鸡 (hong zao ji).

Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken 红糟鸡

I first came across this dish when I was studying in the USA where a fellow Singaporean cooked it and I fell in love with the dish. Anything with wine fragrance, ginger and, tender chicken and  a delicious sauce, I LOVE. But back in Singapore, I seldom come across this dish and as southern hokkiens, it is not really our tradition to have this at home. So I was really happy when my mum learned to ferment the rice as well as make the yummy chicken dish from a community centre cooking class conducted by Mdm Lee Swee Har, who is pretty popular. She holds a variety of Chinese cooking classes at various community centres in the East and my mum went to her classes at Kembangan CC. On a side note, some of these CC cooking demo classes are very good. I have learned quite a few delicious dishes from various cultures here, and my mum who is such a seasoned cook, finds the classes interesting as she still learns new things and techniques though sometimes her techniques are better. =P

This is a ” body warming” dish that is very nourishing and also used as confinement food. The delicious chicken dish is pretty easy to prepare (compared to fermenting the wine which is not difficult but needs to be very careful) and it can be eaten with rice or mee sua. YUMZ!!! This dish is a great dish to have in cold weather or to warm a “yin” body.

As with fermentation, sterilization of all equipment and making sure everything is clean and dry is very important as we do not want the wrong mold and bacteria growing. Some of my mum’s classmates tried and failed mainly because of failure to sterilise or cool the rice properly. To sterilise, the easiest way is to wash the equipment used thoroughly and pour boiling hot water over and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper towels or to spray with 85% medical grade alcohol and wipe dry with paper towels. Making sure that everything is dry is very important as water allows mold and bacteria to grow.

It is also important to use the right fermentation container and in this case, only a porous pot like clay or ceramic pot should be used. Never use any form of plastic or metal pot. Just like how wine was fermented in clay urns traditionally. My mum uses Corningware, which is made with ceramic.

Equipment needed:

Clean and dry 2-3L clay or ceramic pot and cover with a large opening for easy use

Clean and dry Muslin cloth for wrapping the pot (again, porous) My mum used a sterilised baby diaper cloth

Steamer to steam glutinous rice

Grinder to grind red rice and wine cake

Clean and dry airtight storage containers (for final product and the wine by product)

Note on Ingredients:

Some of the ingredients may not be very commonly found. For the Wine Cake or yeast, you can pick it up from any traditional Chinese Medical Hall. I state traditional here because I mean the old school ones and not the modern chains.

Rose Wine or 玫瑰露酒 (meigui lu jiu) is sold at some supermarkets (sometimes at the alcohol counter near the cashier and sometimes at the wine section). Usually can be found in Fairprice or Sheng Siong. I tend to buy the more expensive one in an ornate white vase like bottle as after all the effort, I don’t want a lousy rose wine to spoil it.A bottle is pretty expensive, I think about $40 or so but it is pretty fragrant and you can use it for other dishes like Soya sauce chicken or to season pork ribs in fried pork ribs. Usually a small amount goes a long way.

Red Rice or 红谷米 can be easily found in medical halls and most supermarkets. This nutritious rice is the reason the final product is red. So everything in this recipe is natural and no colouring is added at all.

Sorry that I do not have any pictures at this point as the last fermentation happened some time ago and I have not started the blog. Do feel free to share any photos you have or your own tips and steps so that we can all learn and improve together.

I will share the recipe for cooking the final 红糟鸡 red glutinous rice wine chicken dish in another post. For other delicious recipes, please visit our Food page.


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Soak Glutinous rice

Wash glutinous rice and soak it in water overnight or at least for 8 hours in fridge or at room temperature.


Steam Glutinous rice

Pour out excess water and add 200ml of water to steam glutinous rice in steamer racks till thoroughly cooked.

Tip: Weigh and divide the rice into 4 racks of equal portions. Then add 50ml of water to each rack and steam.


Cool glutinous rice thoroughly

Allow the glutinous rice to cool, stirring it to allow steam to escape and rice should be dry with no moisture trapped within. If not cooled thoroughly or if there is moisture on the rice, you will be growing nasty mold.

Tip: Do not cool the rice over steaming pot. Bring the rice out on the counter top so that the hot steam from the steaming water does not continue to warm or rest on the rice.


Grind red rice and wine cake

In a clean and dry grinder, grind red wine and wine cake to fine powder form. Divide into 4 equal portions.


Layer the glutinous rice and red rice mixture

In a large clean clay or ceramic pot with a lid, fill with a layer or glutinous rice from one rack. Packing it quite tightly. Then add a thin layer of red rice powder mixture. Then add another layer of glutinous rice over the red rice powder.
Repeat till all four layers are done finishing with a final layer of red rice powder on top.


Cover and leave in a cool dry place for 1 week

Cover the pot firmly and wrap with a clean and porous cloth like muslin tightly to secure the cover. Leave in a cool and dry place about 25 degrees celsius (away from stove and oven heat) for 1 week. This is a process to ferment the rice and wine will be a by-product.
Tip: It is best to leave the pot in a place that no one will think to unwrap and open up or know the pot over. So my mum left in on the floor of her bedroom, in a corner that no one will kick over. It is ok to have air conditioning as it makes the air dry as well.


Scoop out the wine

1 week later, open up the pot and you should find a fragrant rice wine liquid formed on top of the layers. Using a clean and dry ladle, press on the layers gently and scoop out the wine carefully into a bowl. Get at much wine out as you can without messing up the rice layers.
Cover back and tie cloth back and leave for 33 days in same spot to continue the fermentation.
Pour the wine into a air tight bottle or jar and this wine can be used in regular cooking as this is a fragrant rice wine.


Add in Rose Wine and steep

After 33 days, open up the pot again and gently pour in 250ml of rose wine with a clean ladle.
Cover and let it steep for 3 days.
After 3 days, open up and stir. The final product is now ready. Ladle the final product into clean and dry air tight jars and store in the fridge for up to 12 months.


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5 Comments Hide Comments

Thanks for sharing . I used to my Tapia , the white pulut sweet wine. I wonder why have to add in Rose wine as it is already red wine after fermented . Thanks.
By the way, how to check the ingredients given as I couldn’t find it.

Hi Rebecca, sorry for the late reply. If you are reading from mobile phone, the ingredients are right on top of the page with ingredients and a + sign. Cick on that and you will see the ingredient list.

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