I love when I stumble on new and nutritious foods to experiment with. Tonight I’m having a friend over for dinner, so as I was planning the menu yesterday and looking for a healthy and non-sugary dessert to end the meal, I came across a pudding recipe using an ingredient called amazake. I dutifully went to Whole Foods to look for it and picked up the last two bottles of Amazake by Grainaissance.
Amazake is a Japanese drink made with fermented whole grain rice – you know I’m all about the whole grains! Koji, a cultered rice also used to make miso, soy sauce and sake, is added to the whole grain, which breaks the carbohydrates into simpler, unrefined sugars causing a sweetness to develop. It is traditionally drunk warm on its own but the store bought version I know is served cold as a dessert or snack or added to smoothies and other recipes as a natural sweetener. It is traditionally known to cure hangovers … just sayin’!
Before I continue, a word about fermentation: Fermented foods do wonders for the digestive system! Ahem … flat tummy? But more importantly, they strengthen our immune and digestive systems allowing us to fight disease and improve the availability and assimilation of nutrients from the healthy foods we eat. Popular fermented foods include miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and some yogurts.
You can make amazake at home (the recipe is a bit complicated for anything I would recommend on this blog) but the store bought treat comes in flavors like Almond Shake, Cool Coconut and Gimme Green. Normally I am wary of anything that comes packaged but after inspecting the label, I approve! It is dairy free, gluten free and low in fat and cholesterol. Best of all, there is no added sugar!
So while my dessert recipe didn’t turn out as I had hoped, I found an unexpected, delicious and nutritious new addition to my fridge!