Hello. This is Ren MURO , a store specializing in rice koji amazake.
Today, under the name of "Amazake Craft Story", we will introduce a popular amazake brewer at Ren MURO .
The brewer introduced in the ninth article is "Iwakami Shoten", which is popular for various types of sweet sake such as adzuki beans, soybean flour, and black sesame.
Amazake from Iwakami Shoten is popular for its variety of sweets, such as adzuki beans, soybean flour, and black sesame.
The company has been in business for over 160 years in Otawara City, Tochigi Prefecture. The current president is the 6th generation, and the sales person we spoke with is the 7th generation.
It has been making koji for about 160 years before records remain, and it is said that he started working on amazake and miso from there. During the war, it was used as a distribution center to distribute local goods, deepening ties with the local people.
■ Only local Koshihikari rice is used
Amazake made by Iwakami Shoten uses only local Koshihikari rice from Otahara, Tochigi Prefecture. The Koshihikari rice produced in this area is said to be as high quality as Uonuma's, and it is delicious as food rice, not for sake brewing or processing.
In addition, Iwakami Shoten's amazake uses Koshihikari rice malt.
Rice koji uses the “Tsukihaze” manufacturing method, which is sometimes used in sake.
▲Mr. Inazawa arranges rice for Iwakami Shoten
By reducing the moisture content of the rice, the koji mold seeks moisture and penetrates deep into the rice and evenly adheres to it. As a result, the enzymes work well, and the decomposition of amino acids, which is the source of umami, is facilitated. Furthermore, because the mycelium prevents the rice koji from sticking together, it is said that the rice koji is more delicious and easier to handle.
However, the Tsukihaze method takes more time and effort than the usual rice koji making method. The process that normally takes two days takes three days, and the rice koji is stirred many times by hand.
The water used for amazake is underground water from Nasunogahara. The whole area is an area where water springs out if you dig 2 to 3 meters, and it seems that well water rich in minerals is used on a daily basis.
In addition, the ingredients such as strawberries and pumpkins for flavored amazake are made in Tochigi Prefecture or purchased by companies in Tochigi Prefecture.
■ Wishes in the word “Amasake”
Amazake from Iwakami Shoten is a paste type with an even ratio of 1:1 rice and malted rice. There is a reason why it is a paste type, even though it is sticking to Koshihikari with good grains instead of processed rice.
It seems that the koji and steamed rice are heated all day and night while stirring. By doing so, no grains remain, and all the umami and nutrients are released. It's a paste type because it's easy to drink, delicious, delicious and nutritious.
If you look closely at the label of the product, you will notice that it is "Amasake" instead of "Amazake". "Originally, it was written in kanji for 'Amazake,'" he said. When he first started selling amazake, it was often thought that it contained alcohol, and he had a hard time explaining it.
Therefore, I changed the notation to convey that it is a non-alcoholic drink that is gentle on the body. The word “Amasake” has a soft, clean sound, and is intended to be especially popular among women.
■ I would like you to try using it for cooking
This time, we asked Ms. Shoko Iwakami, the daughter of the current president and the 7th generation owner of Iwakami Shoten, to recommend amazake.
The company has a variety of flavors such as adzuki bean and tochiotome, but the one that was chosen was “Amasake white rice”.
It's a concentrated type, so I'd like you to use it not only for drinking, but also for cooking. Mr. Iwakami himself uses one egg and one tablespoon of amazake to make a sweet, sugar-free tamagoyaki. In addition, adding amazake to eggplant stir-fried in miso is exquisite.
Also, at the end of my hesitation, I was introduced to another one, "Amasake Genmai". It is also recommended for those who want to take in dietary fiber. I would like to use this product for cooking. When cooked, the unique flavor and aroma of brown rice is softened, so even people who don't like brown rice won't mind it.
■ Look forward to further product development
“Around 2017, when the amazake boom was at its peak, it was an opportunity for people to learn about the wonders of amazake,” says Iwakami. Currently, amazake has become established and has calmed down a bit, but it seems that further amazake product development is being promoted as a future prospect.
Currently, it is only a pouch type, but we are considering developing products with different capacities. In terms of taste, they are also developing products using other koji molds, so I am looking forward to new products in the future.
Lastly, I would like to ask you something that you would like to say to everyone.
"Amazake is recommended when you're tired or want something sweet. In the winter, it's delicious when warmed up, but I'd like you to try it warmed up in the summer as well. It's gentle on the body, and you can expect the aroma of koji to help you relax." That's what I'm talking about.
In addition, he said, "It's easy to get sick and anxious both physically and mentally these days, but I'd like you to drink amazake because it's this time of year."
Iwakami Shoten has spent many years with the local people in a land full of nature. Please try amazake, which is full of love for amazake and has been particular about ingredients and koji making.
Click here for a list of amazake sold by Iwakami Shoten
Noren MURO Kagurazaka
Address: 1-12-6 Kagurazaka , Shinjuku -ku, Tokyo 162-0825
Phone number: 03-5579-2910
HP/Online Shop : https://koujiamasake.jp/
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