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Mijiu (Chinese: 米酒; pinyin: mǐjiǔ; Wade–Giles: mi-chiu; literally: "rice wine") is a variety of Chinese wine made from rice. As a fermented beverage, it is categorized as a form of huangjiu. It is generally clear and somewhat sweet, like its Japanese counterpart sake. Its alcohol content ranges between 12% and 20%. Rice wine was made around or before 1000 B.C. by ancient Chinese and then spread to Japan and other countries. Since then, it has played an important role in Chinese life. In most of the Chinese supermarkets there are various kinds of rice wine. It’s such a traditional beverage to the Chinese that some of the families now still keep the custom of making rice wine by themselves. All the material that’s needed to make rice wine is sticky rice, Chinese yeast and clean water. After the ferment, it contains several kinds of vitamins and amino acids. It can also serve as an appetizer. The main function of rice wine includes improving metabolism and protecting skin.
Mijiu is usually drunk warm, like the Japanese sake, and is also used in cooking. The cooking mijiu available in Asian grocery stores is generally of a lower quality, and often contains added salt to avoid alcohol tax. Mijiu is produced in both China and Taiwan.
Some varieties are of extremely low alcoholic content and consumed by children.
A potent distilled spirit called rice baijiu (米白酒; pinyin: mǐbáijiǔ) is distilled from mijiu.
An unfiltered form of Chinese rice wine containing whole glutinous rice grains is called jiǔniàng or láozāo.
Mijiu is used in such dessert dishes as:
- Eggs spoiled in rice wine
- Sweet soup balls with rice wine
- Rice wine with brown sugar