Friday, April 09, 2010

Amazake—The Amazing Shake!

I'm a total coconut freak. I'm addicted to So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverages, Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream, and Taste Nirvana Real Coconut Milk Water. I also can't seem to get enough of Cool Coconut Amazake!  This delectable indulgence is like a lusciously creamy, thick, rich milkshake. But it's dairy-free and gluten-free, too! It's made from organic brown rice, and although it is delightfully sweet, amazingly, there's no added sugar of any kind. It's sweetened from the rice, itself. And if that wasn't enough, the label is so vibrantly colorful and impossibly cute that it makes me happy just looking at it!


Cool Coconut Amazake is sensational all by itself, but this morning I decided to make myself an Amazake Colada Smoothie. I just threw some Trader Joe's frozen pineapple chunks and a bottle of Cool Coconut Amazake in the blender ...


And voila! A tropically delicious way to start the day!


After decades of enjoying this delicious beverage, I finally got a chance to visit Grainaissance to see how Amazake is made. I was greeted by the lovely Leah, office manager extraordinaire! I've spoken with her many times and was delighted to meet her face-to-face.


I was immediately overcome with the intensely sweet smell of brown rice cooking, as soon as I entered the production area. Amazake is made by a natural malting process. Whole grain rice and filtered water are brought to a boil, and the rice is cooked until tender. The rice is then cooled and cultured rice (called "koji"), is added, causing enzymes to break down the carbohydrates into simpler sugars. As the mixture incubates, the natural sweetness develops, creating a smooth, creamy, nectar-like beverage. Finally, fruits, nuts, and natural flavors are added to produce a variety of flavors like Chocolate Almond, Vanilla Pecan Pie, and of course, Cool Coconut.


How exciting to see the entire process, and then be able to enjoy a bottle right off the line!


I've heard all kinds of strange pronunciations for Amazake, but the correct way to say it is: ah-mah-zah-kee. But something so completely delicious, rich, and creamy that is also dairy-free and gluten-free* should be called the Amazing Shake! You can find Amazake at most natural food stores, but if yours doesn't carry it, ask them to start. This is an all-natural treat that you'll not only enjoy, but will feel great about giving to your kids. Visit the Grainaissance website for recipe ideas, money-saving coupons, and more information. And you can follow them on twitter. Oh, and did I mention that Grainaissance also makes Mochi? I'll write more about this amazing little gluten-free puff pastry in a future post.

*All flavors are gluten-free except Mocha Java, which contains barley.

15 comments:

Penny said...

I've long been a fan of Amazake, but I haven't seen the Cool Coconut flavor in stores. I'm definitely going to ask my local co-op to carry it. It sounds fantastic!

VeganMarr said...

Ive been drinking Amazake since a time when there were only 2 or 3 flavors! I'm long addicted to Hazlenut...2nd fave is Mocha Java.
They can serve as a quick meal on the run. They're thick & delicious. Your
pineapple colada smoothie sounds very tempting...I may have to give it a whirl!

avegangirl said...

I love Cool Coconut Amazake! I'm out the door to go buy one now.

Helen said...

Yummo! Can't wait to try these shakes. Dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy free?!? Thank you!

The Vegan said...

I had forgotten all about Amazake. I have always loved their drinks. And. I too, am addicted to coconut so I am going to see if I can find the Cool Coconut in my local store. Even if I can't I will have to reacquaint myself with their other flavors.

BTW, the Mocha is the one flavor that does has gluten.

Vegiegail said...

Thanks, TheVegan! I did note the Mocha-Java flavor at the end of my post. And if your local store doesn't carry the Cool Coconut flavor, ask them to carry it! It's the yummiest of all!

GFGabriella said...

Oooh, I'd read about Amazake in Living Without Magazine, but haven't yet tried it. Now I'm inspired, and I'll look for it this weekend when I go to Whole Foods.

Ellen said...

I've been drinking Amazake for years. I stumbled upon it back around 1990 in a health food store in Manhattan. I bought the vanilla pecan flavor that first time. It was so delicious..that I was upset when I drained the last drop from the bottle. I also tried the Hazelnut flavor shortly thereafter. Amazake has such an interesting taste and consistency--a little like a shake, but not thick enough. I'm dying to try the coconut flavor. A great healthy beverage that hits the spot!

The Vegan said...

I went to my local Whole Foods and tried the Cool Coconut and as reported it is yum, yum, yummy!!!!

Vegiegail said...

Hi Ellen! For an even thicker beverage, try blending your favorite Amazake flavor with a ripe banana or a handful of frozen fruit. Vanilla Pecan Pie and Go Hazelnuts are both super delicious with strawberries.

Vegiegail said...

I'm delighted that you found Cool Coconut, and that you enjoyed it so much, TheVegan!

Melissa said...

My son has autism, and he's on a casein and gluten-free diet. He loves Almond Amazake. It's a very special treat for him. I'm so happy there is something so nutritious that he can enjoy.

Wen said...

Wow! Lots of amazake fans here. I only discovered it and learned how to make it from scratch while volunteering on a rice farm near Osaka a couple of weeks ago.

It's not too hard to make it at home, if you're interested. (http://bit.ly/c5bvQO) Just think of all the flavour experiments you could try!

Wen
http://www.goingwithmygut.com

Anonymous said...

Cured my ulcerative colitis.

meecepeece said...

Cool coconut flavor has got to be one f the best tasting foods I have ever had in my life.I adore grainy drinks,and young cocnuts with pulp, and I always loved the Amazake nut flavors,so I live three blocks from a natural foods co op. I walk there and get cool cocnut drinks and I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian.My tastes just tend toward vegetarian type foods,and I dont eat much meat because I dislike it.Also I get sensitive to gluten,so these are perfect.if they even stop making them I am going to riot.