Red yeast rice ( simplified Chinese:红曲米; traditional Chinese:紅麴米), red fermented rice, red kojic rice, is a bright reddish purple fermented rice, which acquires its color from being cultivated with the mold Monascus purpureus.
Red yeast rice continues to be a dietary staple in China, Japan, and Asian communities in the United States, with an estimated average consumption of 14 to 55 grams of red yeast rice per day per person.
Culinary: Red yeast rice is used to color a wide variety of food products, including pickled tofu, red rice
vinegar, char siu, Peking Duck, and Chinese pastries that require red food coloring.
It is also traditionally used in the production of several types of Chinese huangjiu (Shaoxing jiu), Japanese sake (akaisake ) and Korean rice wine (hong ju), imparting a reddish color to these wines. Although used mainly for its color in cuisine, red yeast rice imparts a subtle but pleasant taste to food and is commonly used in the cuisine of
Fujian regions of China.
Traditional Chinese medicine:
In addition to its culinary use, red yeast rice is also used in Chinese herbology and traditional Chinese medicine. Its use has been documented as far back as the Tang Dynasty in China 800 AD. It is taken internally to invigorate the body, aid in digestion, and revitalize the blood.
A more complete description is in the traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia, Ben Cao Gang Mu-Dan Shi Bu Yi, from the Ming Dynasty (1378-1644)