Yellow wine, also known as Huangjiu in chinese, is an important ingredient especially during the confinement period. Confinement is the time where a mother has just delivered her baby and since her body is still weak, she will rest at home for about a month on average and will be given nutritious food so that she will regain her strength as soon as possible. One of the very popular confinement dishes is wine chicken, and in order to cook that, one of the ingredients used will be yellow wine.
I am going to have a baby girl soon and since I am in Thailand with hubby, I am not sure where I can get good yellow wine. Hence, I decided to make the yellow wine on my own for my confinement. It was an interesting experience to learn how to make this wine, and frustrating sometimes as it did not work out the first few times. But once I have adjusted the methods a bit here and there, it finally worked, and the end result was a nice and golden yellow wine or Huangjiu!
Here are the steps to make Huangjiu:
Ingredients and Tools/Apparatus:
1. One 2 Litres Jar to soak the wine(This depends on how much you want to make) – Choose a jar with a narrow top as the wine will be brewed here.
2. One muslin cloth or cheese cloth or plenty of coffee filters (To strain the wine)
3. Wine biscuit – 3-5 Pieces (This can be purchased from any chinese medical hall)
4. One bottle of rice wine or rose wine (Rose wine will make the final product more fragrant)
5. Glutinous Rice 1kg
6. Flat tray to dry the glutinous rice.
1. Make sure all apparatus especially the jar is clean and dry.
2. Cook the glutinous rice in a rice cooker just like any normal rice. The glutinous rice does not need to be soaked overnight.
3. After rice is cooked, lay the rice out on a flat tray to cool. Make sure there is only one layer of glutinous rice on the tray. A few trays might be needed. It is important to ensure that the glutinous rice is totally cooled before brewing.
4. Cool the rice. It took me about 1 hour for the rice to completely cool on a flat tray.
5. While waiting for the rice to cool, crush the rice wine biscuit with a mortar or pestel. Put in a bowl.
6. After the rice has cooled down, spread the wine biscuit on top of the rice. By now the rice should be easily taken out in pieces. Make sure that all the outer layer of the rice piece is covered with the crushed wine biscuits. Then layer the rice piece into the jar piece by piece. Do not press.
7. You can layer the rice up to almost the top, as the volume will shrink after a few days.
8. Cover the top of the jar with muslin cloth first, then with the cover of the jar.
9. Leave the jar in a very dark place (I also cover it with a cloth) just in case. Leave it till the 5th day from the day the wine is first made. The wine will start to ferment now. (If you do not have so much time, it is also ok to leave it only for 3 days). It is vital not to open the jar in these 5 days as the wine might become moldy. Once the wine becomes moldy, it is not advisable to continue brewing it.
10. On the 5th day, use a dry spatula to stir the glutinous rice. Do not stir too hard as it will make the wine cloudy.
11. Pour a bottle of the rice wine or rose wine and stir a bit more. Then remove the muslin cloth and cover with the jar cover. Put it back into the dark place and wait till the 30th day (starting from the day the wine was initially made).
12. For bottling, get a clean and dry bottle, and put a funnel on top.
13. Filter the mixture to separate the rice and the wine first, then put the liquid through the funnel and let it drip. (Yes this takes quite a long time – took about 8 hours for everything to drip through). I will do a few batches and then let the final mixture drip overnight. Keep changing the coffee filter as the residue of the wine will make the filtering slower as it gets stuck to the filter. You can also use muslin cloth – just put everything in the muslin cloth and let it drip overnight. But I have never tried this though, I find that the filters are quite effective to make golden and clear wine.
14. For the rice residual, let it slowly drip through a sift so that the liquid will drip out.
15. Pour the wine into a pot, and boil till you see the first bubble come out, then turn the stove off.
16. Cool and store in a dark place. This can be stored for a very long time. (Up to a year)