Does it look like melted cheese or white sauce on the chicken? It’s Amazake, a traditional Japanese drink made with fermented rice. Amazake literary means sweet sake. But the taste is not similar to Japanese sake at all. It’s gently sweet and the texture is thick and creamy. This drink has been the trend of recent years in Japan because of the richness in nutrient. Amazake used to be regarded as a warm winter drink or new years drink served by shrines for visitors. But now we drink them more frequently, and use it for sweet and savory recipes. Amazake miso chicken is one of my favorite dishes using Amazake.
This recipe is inspired by the dish that I ate during a cooking class last year. The teacher specialized in fermented food lectured how to make Amazake and how to use it for savory recipes. At the end of the class, we enjoyed a lunch of fermented food, including this Amazake miso chicken. I was amazed at the tenderness and the richness of the chicken and I decided to make Amazake miso chicken based on her recipe on Cookpad.
2 types of Amazake
Amazake miso chicken is very easy, no-fail recipe. Before baking it in the oven, you only need to marinate chicken with Amazake, miso, olive oil , garlic in a plastic storage bag. But if you choose a wrong type of Amazake, You will mess up.
There are 2 types of Amazake.
- Alcohol Amazake
- Non-alcohol Amazake
The latter is the one I’m using for this recipe. It’s really tricky to distinguish which is which on the package. Because both says Amazake (甘酒). So you need to look at the ingredients list on the back. If you find sake lees (酒粕) and sugar (砂糖), it’s the one with alcohol. Instead, if you find fermented rice (米麹, 米糀, 米こうじ), excluding sake lees and sugar words on the list, it’s the non-alcohol one, that is the correct Amazake for this recipe.
Alcoholic Amazake made from sake lees which is leftovers from a process of making Japanese sake. And it’s added sugar. Whereas, the non-alcohol Amazake made from simply made with fermented rice. The non-alcohol Amazake is often said to be an “IV drip to drink”. Because it’s packed all nutrition our body needs and the nutrient components are similar to an IV. If you want to know more about health benefits, this article would be helpful.
Apart from the healthy reasons, it’s very delicious to drink as it is. The chicken marinated with Amazake and white miso is very moist and tender. Also, the Amazake glaze is rich and creamy, working like a dairy-free and gluten-free bechamel white sauce. I hope you give it a try!
If you are interested in fermented food, also check out my Shio Koji beef streak recipe!
Amazake Miso Chicken
- 4 tbsp (60 ml) Amazake, made from fermented rice
- 1 1/2 tbsp white miso paste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 300 g (0.6 lb) boneless and skin-on chicken thighs sub. skin-on chicken breast
- Prick the chicken all over with a fork.
- Place the chicken in a resealable plastic storage bag.
- Add the Amazake, the miso, the olive oil and the minced garlic, then well rub the chicken in marinade.
- Remove air from the bag and seal, then marinate in the fridge overnight.
- Remove the chicken from the bag and place in a baking dish or on the oven tray lined with parchment paper. Please keep the marinade in the bag.
- Bake the chicken with the skin side up at 220 C ( 425 F / gas mark 7) for 40 minutes or until cooked through and juices run clear with crispy skin.
- Meanwhile, baking the chicken, pour the marinate in a small saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of water.
- Bring to boil for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a serving plate. Pour the sauce and optionally sprinkle chopped parsley or green onion.