Chinese Fermented Rice Recipe

{UPDATE: Click here for new Chinese fermented rice recipe that I love.}

Chinese fermented rice is an acquired taste. It’s probably something, like thousand year old eggs, where if you didn’t grow up with the flavors, you probably won’t like it. But I spent so much time doing this that I thought it deserved a post. Growing up my grandmother would heat it up and break and egg in it for our breakfasts. Now that I think about it, they were probably sending me to school drunk. No wonder I have a pretty decent alcohol tolerance now.  How does alcohol come into this? When you ferment the rice with the yeast, it forms a wine. The longer you ferment it, the stronger and more wine you will get. I didn’t do that with my dishes because I wanted it for eating, not drinking purposes.

Ingredients

1/4 yeast ball (you most likely have to go to a Chinese grocery and just ask for yeast for fermented rice, they look like dusty golf balls)

6 cups of cooked rice (best choice is glutinous rice, but my supermarket didn’t have any, so I used basmati for one batch and pearl rice for another batch, and both did ferment)

Optional: Sugar. Fermented glutinous rice comes out sweet, but because I didn’t have glutinous rice, I sprinkled a little bit of sugar over each batch

Now What?

Let your cooked rice completely cool to room temperature. Then mix in the yeast very well into it. Put into an air tight container and keep in a warm place for 3-7 days. I kept a batch in the oven while it was off, and the other on top of my fridge, because the top of my fridge is warm. I discovered this when I had chocolates on top of there and they completely went soft. During this time period, alcohol will start coming out.

Some people like to dig a whole in the middle of the rice so that they can see this process. When it has fermented to your liking, pop it into the fridge and keep there for whenever you want a bowl of it.

My favorite way of eating it, is just how my grandmother served it. Heat the porridge in a small pot, on the side scramble a raw egg, when the porridge it how, swirl the egg into it, until it is all cooked.  Add sugar to taste.

[3/16/2015 UPDATE: AFTER I PUT THE YEAST AND RICE MIXTURE IN THE CONTAINER THAT IT WILL BE FERMENTING IN, I LIKE TO SPRINKLE THE TOP WITH A LITTLE BIT OF FLOUR AND SUGAR. JUST A TEENSY BIT. I FIND THAT I HAVE CONSISTENTLY PRODUCED A VERY SWEET FINAL PRODUCT BY DOING SO.]

-Joyce Huang

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