Homemade Amasake Recipe

posted in: Dessert, Grains, Recipes | 9

The recent warm weather in Seattle has motivated me to make amasake. I first started making it while living in Austin, TX. Living there, I didn’t have to think about how to keep the culture warm because I didn’t have air conditioning and my apartment was already warm enough. I would make it before going to sleep and it would be done when I woke up.

After moving to Seattle, and cooler weather, I had to think of a new process. So, I took some cues from a friend who makes yogurt regularly. I mix the rice and koji, then put it in a cooler with a few jars of very hot water and let time do its magic. When it is warm outside, I put my cooler outside directly in the sun. It stays toasty warm the whole time and I have amasake within eight hours.

Homemade amasake doesn’t even compare with the kind you can find in most health food stores. Leave it thick and eat it plain like a pudding or thin it with water and drink as a beverage. I also use it to sweeten a variety of desserts including cookies, puddings and smoothies. The batch I made used barley koji because that’s what I happened to have, but I think rice koji is more common. Koji can be found at Natural Import Company listed in macrobiotic resources. Don’t let the long instructions deter you. It’s actually super easy.

Homemade Amasake

2 cups sweet brown rice, rinse and soak overnight in 4 cups water
2 pinches sea salt
1/4 cup rice or barley koji

1.  Place the rice and soaking water in a non-aluminum pressure cooker. Add the sea salt. Bring to a boil and up to pressure. Reduce heat to as low as you can to maintain pressure. You can use a flame tamer if you have one. Cook for 50 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally or carefully run a little water down the side to help the pressure come down more quickly.

2.  Move the rice to a glass bowl and let sit until it’s just hot to touch. The temperature needs to be less than 140ºF, but still hot enough to activate the koji.

3.  Stir in the koji. Mix well. Spoon the rice and koji into clean mason jars. This amount will fit nicely into two quart jars, but you can use whatever size you have. You can heat the jars first, but I haven’t found this to be necessary. Put a lid on top.

4.  Bring some water to a boil and pour into two more quart size jars. Place all four jars into a medium size cooler. Wrap some towels in there, too, if they fit. Cover. Let sit for a few hours.

5.  After the first few hours, open the cooler to check to make sure the temperature is staying warm. Either shake the jars with rice to mix them a little more or open the jars and give them a stir. The rice should be starting to get a little wetter. Tuck the jars back in. Put more hot water in the other two jars if necessary to maintain the temperature. Cover and let sit.

6.  After about six hours, open one jar of amasake and taste a little to check for sweetness. If you want it sweeter, let it incubate for longer. Add more hot water if necessary. Check every hour until at desired sweetness.

7.  When your amasake is sweet enough, remove from cooler and pour into a stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes to kill the koji spores. Let cool.

8.  You can eat your amasake as is, but I like to puree it in a blender or vitamix. You can add some water to get a thinner consistency.


I haven’t tried this with boiled rice. My suggestion for boiled rice is to soak the rice in five or six cups water and simmer for 50 minutes. If you try it this way, I would love to hear how it turns out.

Amasake freezes really well, so I make a big batch and freeze it in pint size mason jars.

9 Responses

  1. narf77

    Where do you get your koji? I live in Tasmania Australia and haven’t been able to source it here

    • sweetveg

      I order mine from a Japanese import company in the US. I will do some asking around and see if I can find an easy way for you to get some. It’s kind of expensive, but you don’t need much in each batch. It would be nice if you didn’t have to pay too much in shipping. 🙂

      • narf77

        That is very kind of you to look into it for me :). We are a bit behind the times when it comes to ferments and innoculants. There is a man here in Australia called Dom who has an amazing website all about fermentation etc. http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/koji.html#Amasake
        I have attempted to contact him regarding buying these ferments, innoculants and koji’s but never got a reply. I am very interested in using innoculants to enhance our food and often read wistfully about everything that you guys in the U.S. are able to get. As a vegan it is sometimes difficult to obtain the ingredients that I need (read hemp seed…illegal to buy whole hemp seed and we have to rely on imported crushed hemp seed from which the oil has been extracted from Canada for $60 a kilo and it has to be sold as “pet food”). Thank you again, firstly for your reply and secondly for looking into it for me 🙂

  2. sweetveg

    Sorry it took me so long. 🙂 Here is what I found so far. I am not sure what you already know.

    It looks like South River Miso in the U.S. will ship koji to Tasmania if Australia will let it in. That’s what I don’t know. The shipping is steep, but levels off dramatically at 4 packages and beyond. http://www.southrivermiso.com/store/p/13-Organic-Brown-Rice-Koji.html

    Below is a company in Australia that sells koji innoculant. You would need to use it to innoculate your own rice. Then you would use that rice to make the amasake. It’s a sake company. The same koji is used for sake and amasake. I think amasake is just kind of an earlier stage of sake. http://www.tibbs-vision.com/sake/index.html

    It might be worth it to call sake companies in Australia and see if they have koji they could sell you.

    I am waiting to hear back from macro people here who know of macro people in Australia who might also be able to hook you up with koji. I will let you know.

  3. sweetveg

    Do you have a different way I can contact you? You can reach me through the contact link at the top. I just got some names for you and don’t want to post them here. Thanks! 🙂 Teresa

  4. Sarah

    I had some questions about the amasake and sent you an email not sure if u got it?!? Really interested in making it.

    • sweetveg

      Hi Sarah,
      I didn’t get your email. I would love to answer any questions you have. You can try me again through the contact page.
      I look forward to connecting with you.