Literally translated as "sweet sake" a koji culture converts the carbohydrates from the whole grains into simple sugars giving rise to the naturally sweet flavour of amazake.
In Japan Amazake is normally consumed as a drink where it is diluted with hot water, sieved and drunk as a comforting winter warmer. However it is very versatile and can be used in lots of European dishes too. For example adding Amazake to your favourite fruit smoothie adds proteins, texture and natural sweetness but it could also be added to pancake batter, muffin mixes or used to make dairy free French Toast. Deliciously thick and creamy it is hard to believe its made from dairy free ingredients!
Amazake is made from water, steamed rice and cultured rice. Cultured rice (kome koji) is rice that has been inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae, the fungus that is the basis for many kinds of fermented foods such as miso, natto (fermented soybeans) and soy sauce. This mixture is allowed to ferment until the starches in the rice are saccharified and converted into glucose as well as oligosaccharide, which is said to be the ideal food for intestinal flora and helps combat constipation. The amino acids and B-vitamins in the rice are also converted into an easily digestible form.