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Red Glutinous Wine Lees

Red Glutinous Wine Lees
Filed Under: Ingredients

Red Glutinous Wine Lees

Update (5 Aug 2014): First posted in Jul 2009 as a recipe, now updated with write-up and links to various recipes and resources associated with the ingredient “red glutinous wine lees”.

Red glutinous wine lees (hong zhao, ang zao or 红槽; picture above) is the residual product of fermenting rice and red rice bran to make red glutinous wine. Both the wine lees and the wine are used to cook traditional Foochow dishes. They keep for years in the fridge – and according to my mum, they “never” spoil, but please don’t quote my mum on that ;) For the uninitiated, red glutinous wine dishes are well known as a “confinement dish” – a must-have for women recuperating after child birth. But thankfully, you don’t need to be having your confinement to enjoy dishes cooked with it. In my mother’s hometown in Malaysia (Perak), red glutinous dishes are actually everyday home dishes. Almost every family knows how to make the wine and every one has their own secret home recipe. They are norishing and are said to boost benefits such as lowering bad cholesterol, strengthening cardio, regulating the female monthly cycle, and so on.

Foochow Red Wine Mee Sua Recipe

Picture Above: Red Glutinous Wine Mee Sua. Get Recipe >>

One of the most popular uses for the red wine and lees is to cook with chicken and mee sua (flour vermicelli), a superbly tasty one-dish meal. The recipe can be tweaked according to preference. For instance, those eating this as a confinement dish will add a copious amount of sesame oil, ginger and wine, though this will generally be too “heaty” for a normal person.

red glutinous wine lees

Good red glutinous wine lees are not be easy to find in Singapore. They must taste good on their own, but unfortunately, the ones from the supermarket I have tried so far (mass produced and China made) taste really terrible (sour, tart tasting and ruin the soup). The most reliable source to get them will be from relatives or friends who make their own. I now get my supply from my mum who returns to her hometown a few times a year to bring back the ingredients.

Read about: Where to buy good red glutinous wine and mee sua from Perak, Malaysia

Hand-made mee sua

Even the hand-made mee sua made all the difference. The shop we buy from in Perak is still operating today, and their mee sua is still hand made. If you visit their shop, you can see the mee sua being sun dried on poles. Being hand-made, they are not the thinnest mee sua out there, yet the texture is superior! Our car boot back from Malaysia is always filled with friends and relatives requests for them. Their particular mee sua is (deliciously) salty on its own, so it is recommended that you cook them separately in a pot of water.

Red Glutinous Wine Chicken Recipe

Photo Above: Red Glutinous Wine Chicken. Get Recipe >>

Other than cooking it with mee sua, you can cook the red glutinous wine with chicken to make a big pot of hong zao chicken (to be served with rice). This was my mum’s specialty dish in the past and she cooked it once a week with her home-made wine, no less. But back then, my love affair with anything cooked in this precious ingredient did not get off to a good start. I did not even try the chicken at all because it looked red and scary to me. Regret! 我真不识货! When I grew older, I somehow became a lot more adventurous with food (greedy?) and upon trying the dish, it was love at first bite. Now I wished I had tasted my mum’s home made wine back then, because she had apparently “forgotten” how to make the wine. How I wish to have a time machine (like the Tardis) so that I can go back in time to learn from her. I hope my mum will change her mind one day and teach me how to make it, for it will be a shame to lose this skill.

Red Glutinous Wine Lees & RIce WIne

By the way, the Foochow wine stocked in our local supermarkets is yellow (see picture above, the bottle on the right) and not red. They are not that aromatic as the home-made ones I am using now, but they do a decent job of substitution (you may also use normal rice wine).

Lastly, although this post have been updated with the latest information, I will still like to thank a very generous food blogger, Rei from All That Matters. She gifted me her delicious home-made wine and lees when she read my post at a local food forum asking where I can purchase them in Singapore. She gave them to me for FREE, even though I did not know her before that. You can check out Rei’s recipe for making your own wine at home. Thank you, Rei. I still remember and feel touched by your generosity after all these years :)

66 comments on “Red Glutinous Wine Lees”

  1. Looks so vibrant in red. I never have this before, curious to try it.

  2. The color of the finished dish is so pretty! I’d love to try this if I can find the wine. Sounds really delicious.

  3. I’ve never heard of this before. Fascinating. How could your mom have forgotten? :(

  4. Bloggers are the nicest people in the world! I bet this is out of this world delicious!

  5. Hi,
    My mum makes this too and she buys the red stuff from Tiong Bahru Market from 1 stall selling dried goods, she told me its a fat lady selling :) The wine she still uses the hong zao wine from Cold Storage tho if she gets a chance she will buy from Sitiawan in Perak, West Malaysia, my dad’s hometown. The mee suah that the hockchews use is actually different from the normal one we get here (thinner and more sticky). Unfortunately also gotta buy from Sitiawan :p tho I heard rumors of shops selling the mee suah in Jln Besar…

    • yes! there are many hock chews residing in the Perak, Sitiawan area and this dish is a speciality there. How I wish I can travel there just to buy the wine and the special mee suah u mentioned. Thanks for telling me where I can find the red paste in Singapore … do you happen to have the address? I am not that good at finding places hehe :halo:

    • Tiong Bahru Market is 30 Seng Poh Road but you will have to hunt down the dried goods stall that sells the red paste – look for fat lady :p :)

      The foochow coffeeshop is at 33/35 Sultan Gate, Kampong Glam Conservation Area :)

      If you ever happen to go to Ipoh, take a detour to Sitiawan, not only for the red paste and mee suah but the food there is out of this world and not found anywhere else!! :)

    • Hi Ellie,
      Thank you so much. Really appreciate your sharing! Shall look for the pastes when I’m around the area. Coincidentally, my mum may be going Sitiawan for a holiday soon … I shall pester her to bring back some wine and the special mee suah back if she go. Thanks! :-)

    • Hi Ellie, I tried the mee suah at the Sultan Gate coffeeshop, both my mum and I didn’t really like it (we have strict standard lol) so I didn’t buy the lees there. But at least I tried coz I’ve always heard about this place when talking about finding 红槽面线 in Singapore.

      Shall stalk the Tiong Bahru Market place soon. Hope I find the store :)

  6. I think I also saw the red paste being sold at the coffeeshop selling foochow fishball noodles at Sultan Gate which by the way serves up a yummy version of the hong zao chicken tho I usually change it to yen pi :)

  7. Glad you enjoyed it and you’re most welcome! Do try to make the wine, it’s not difficult. In any case should you need more, I have spares. :D

  8. Oh, my mother makes this too and often cooks it with Mee Suah. The wine is really sweet. Unfortunately, I don’t quite like the red paste. I only like the wine. :oops:

    • the red paste and wine got different taste? I though the paste is just more concentrated hehehe … I can’t get enough of it, paste and all ;p

  9. WOW!你煮的红槽鸡面线很吸引哦。

    • 您住在新加坡吗?
      请看评论5,6 – 有读者提到可以购买红槽的地方。

  10. I know what this is! My neighbor makes it all the time and gives me a bowl whenever she does! yum!

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