Cutting Down On Sugar? Try Ama-Koji | Clozette

Having a sweet tooth is both a blessing and a burden. After all, what comes with the saccharine pleasure to your palate is a potential threat to your health in the long run. But what if we tell you that there's a way to tone down on the sugar intake while still keeping your relationship with sweets? Try ama-koji

Similar to kombucha and kimchi where fermentation plays a huge part in its creation process, ama-koji is its sweet counterpart. This Japanese food processing method involves deriving the starch that comes from koji fungus, transforming it to glucose through heat. The end result becomes your new and healthier sweetener. While that sounds like complex chemistry, it's actually much easier than you think. 

How to make ama-koji

It all starts off with acquiring rice malt (koji) from your local supermarket. This ingredient is made from rice that's been cultured with the use of Aspergillus oryzae, a fungus often used in East Asian cuisine. This transforms the rice from solid to a liquid form, making it easier to mix in with other ingredients. This fermentation process allows the rice to enrich the food's amino and fatty acids, as well as elevate the flavour of sweetness. But this is only the first step. You'll also need a cooking thermometer as temperature plays a huge role in the next step. 

rice grains on leaf

After acquiring the rice malt, it's time to do some heating. Create a thin rice porridge as you usually do and pour in the rice malt. Make sure the rice malt is at room temperature before you start putting it in to maintain a steady temperature. Mix it with the rice porridge. Cover the mixture with a lid and let the rice malt warm up even more. Make sure you check in every so often, stirring the porridge and the malt ever so slightly, not allowing the temperature to go lower or exceedingly higher than 60 degrees Celsius. You can usually do so by keeping your rice cooker in the 'warm' setting.

It will typically take two to three hours, and you can usually tell by tasting once the ama-koji has fully fermented given its newly acquired sweetness. Some people leave it in the steady heat overnight to let it develop into its maximum its sweetness level, but you can make do with a couple of hours or so. 

Storage and use

According to some references, ama-koji can last in the freezer for a month. It can lose its sweetness the longer it's stocked after cooking, but heating it up again will revive its sweetness. In this duration, you can either eat it on its own as a treat or mix it in with tea, coffee, ice cream or just about anything you'd want to sweeten. It also doesn't spoil easily, given that it thrives on the enzymes it holds due to the fermentation process. 

ceramic bottle and cups

You can also dilute your ama-koji with hot water to create amazake (low alcohol sweet rice wine). Aside from becoming a refreshing drink that can be consumed either hot or cold, this also makes it easier to combine with any other food item you'd want to sweeten, replacing processed sugar. Both ama-koji and amazake can also be incorporated in cooking as a marinade or a seasoning. 

How is it better than sugar? 

glass kitchen jars

Aside from the ingredients being really accessible, it's also gluten, dairy, and technically, sugar-free. It's also rich in probiotics given its fermentation origin, making it healthy not just for your gut but also your holistic health (probiotic beauty, anyone?). To seal the deal further, it's also 100 per cent organic compared to artificial sweeteners found in the market today. Not to mention that you also get to play chemist (sort of), which we think is the coolest end of the stick here. 

Interested in more beauty and health-related info bites? Give these a podcasts a try. 



There's no doubt that having a sister is a wonderful thing. She's your confidant, ally and first best friend — but we would all be lying if we were to say that we've never fought with our dearest sister before. There are just some things that she does that annoys you — like borrowing your clothes without permission. The worst is, sometimes, she won't return them anymore. A decade ago this could have meant war, but now that you're all grown up, a better way to deal with this is to just gift her with some awesome style picks. Ahead, some suggestions.

This classy asymmetrical skirt

Peter Do Net-a-Porter exclusive Asymmetric pleated metallic voile skirt

Peter Do Net-a-Porter exclusive Asymmetric pleated metallic voile skirt, USD1601.42

Is your sister always stealing unique pieces from you to wear for special occasions? If so, she will surely love this Peter Do Net-a-Porter exclusive Asymmetric pleated metallic voile skirt. It has a unique hem that makes it very versatile. You can style it up or down — great for events and also for everyday looks.

A comfy sweater

UNIQLO Marimekko Wool Cashmere Long Sleeve

UNIQLO Marimekko Wool Cashmere Long Sleeve, SGD99.90/~USD73

If your favourite sweaters are already starting to look run-down after all the wear and tear (no thanks to the constant borrowing of your sister), then the best way is to just get a matching set for the two of you. Gift her a nice comfy one made with high-quality materials that she would want to wear. Maybe this would stop her from rummaging through your wardrobe in search of a better pick. We suggest this super soft long-sleeved wool sweater from UNIQLO's Marimekko collection.

A cute top


Pomelo Fashion Purpose Knitted Halter Neck Tank Top in Pink

Pomelo Fashion Purpose IV Collection Knitted Halter Neck Tank Top in Pink, SGD29/~USD21

Ahh, cute tops! It's the number one steal-worthy style piece, which makes it a foolproof gift for your sister. Need help in looking for the perfect one? This baby pink halter top from Pomelo is a great choice; it can pair well with any type of bottoms — whether they're a pair of denim pants, corduroy shorts, or a maxi skirt.

This sophisticated bag

Charles & Keith Square Floral Embroidered Chain Handle Bag

Charles & Keith Square Floral Embroidered Chain Handle Bag, Price unavailable

Does your sister also dip her fingers in your bag collection? Refresh her purse wardrobe by giving her a stylish and sophisticated bag that she would pick over any of yours. We're sure she'll find this pale pink bag with a gold-like handle from Charles & Keith irresistible!

A one-of-a-kind item

Disney Frozen Anna Dangle Charm Disney Frozen Elsa & Nokk Dangle Charm

Disney Frozen Anna Dangle Charm and Disney Frozen Elsa & Nokk Dangle Charm, SGD129/~USD94 each

If there's one thing that we don't mind sharing with our sisters, it would be the accessories. You double the size of your jewellery options when you have a shared trove. For the holiday season, why not give your sister a symbol of sisterly love like these charms from Disney Frozen x Pandora Collection?

Next, check out our gift guide for your techie mum.



We’re onto the last month of the year already, can you believe it? Though the year may be ending soon, there’s no end to the exciting news brought by the upcoming holidays. From Olivia Jade getting back to YouTube months after the college admissions scandal to exciting store launches in the region, here are all the juicy news bites that are hyping us up for the festive days ahead.

Olivia Jade is back on YouTube post-college admissions scandal

After the news of the college admissions scandal in the US broke out last March, Olivia Jade finally breaks her hiatus on YouTube with a new vlog post. In the two-minute video, she explained she can’t really legally talk about the scandal but confessed that she really misses vlogging. Her attempt to make a career comeback, however, was met with much criticism online.

If you can recall, the YouTuber’s actress mum, Lori Loughlin was among the 33 parents accused of bribing to have their kids accepted into colleges. And though Olivia Jade wasn’t exactly the one who did the crime, people haven’t exactly been happy with how she refused to apologise and hold herself accountable up till now. Would she ever be able to move past this issue and perhaps vlog about all these one day? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Satisfy your K-beauty needs at Amore Store x Lazada

Let’s all move on and focus on the brighter side of things, shall we? For the first time ever, Lazada enters the offline realm and partners with Amorepacific and CapitaLand to bring you Amore Store x Lazada. Launching this Thursday, 5 December at Funan Mall, the pop-up shop blends the best of online and offline shopping by bringing you your fave K-beauty powerhouses. Brands like Laneige, Innisfree, and more will be all under one roof. Be sure to stop by to get your beauty needs for the holidays.

Tiffany & Co. introduces their first-ever dual fragrance

Tiffany & Love Collection's launch and Olivia Jade posting a vlog on YouTube months after the college admissions scandal are just some of the hottest news this week.

Looking for the perfect gift for a loving couple? Just in time for the holidays, Tiffany & Co. introduces the newest fragrance collection, Tiffany & Love. The two complementary fragrances in the His and Hers collection celebrates love and commitment. A tribute to emotional connection, Tiffany & Love is the brand’s first-ever foray into dual fragrances, as well as the inaugural launch of their men’s fragrance. Each of the two fragrances has their own unique scent, but are tied wonderfully together by the blue sequoia notes. Get them at Sephora ION, MBS, NAC and at Tangs Vivo City and Tangs Plaza.

I’Milky brings more of Taiwan’s authentic goodness to PH

I'Milky PH best-sellers

In Metro Manila, on the other hand, it’s easier than ever to experience the premium milk tea goodness with I’Milky opening a new branch in Ayala North Exchange — their third branch nationwide and first ever in Makati. In I’Milky, less is more, as they craft drinks with quality natural ingredients carefully sourced from Taiwan, the birthplace of our fave boba tea. Milk tea lovers should definitely have a sip of their best-selling Taro Milk Tea generously filled with the velvety texture of real taro puree. Sweet Natural Brown Sugar Milk Tea and the slightly tart Strawberry Milk Tea are other crowd favourites that are a must-try. Those aiming to have a lighter drink, on the other hand, can enjoy I’Milky’s wide selection of soy milk-based or fruit tea offerings.

(Cover photo from: @oliviajade)

Missed last week’s updates? Catch up on the headlines here.