Rice wine vinegar or rice vinegar is a food item specific to Asian cuisines. If you haven’t dabbled that much in those types of dishes, we give you some tips about how to use it.
If you’re like me and you like to buy food items just because you’re in a grocery store and you see the fancy bottles, products labeled as ‘healthy’, and intriguing packages, you might have a rice wine vinegar bottle forgotten in your pantry. You probably don’t know what to do with it and that’s why you’re looking things up on the Internet. And you found us! That’s why we’re here, to make things easier for you. Take out that rice wine vinegar from the pantry and start using it!
What is and how to use rice wine vinegar
Rice wine vinegar, also known as rice vinegar, is made with fermented rice, in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Chinese types of rice vinegar are stronger than Japanese ones, and range in color from clear to various shades of red, brown and black.
Rice wine vinegar is made from sake or wine which are in turn made from fermented rice. Also, most of the Asian rice vinegar types are milder and sweeter than vinegar made and used in the Western world. Sure, black vinegar is an exception.
Rice wine vinegar is what you need when you want just a little bit of sweetness and acidity in your food. Usually, Asian-inspired recipes ask for rice wine vinegar. Use it for sweet-and-sour dishes, because the acetic acid is just the right amount to let the sweetness come out.
Here are some ways you can use rice vinegar.
1. For Asian dressings
You can add rice vinegar to any dressing. But combining it with other Asian ingredients like sesame oil, soy sauce, and ginger results in a strong taste. You can use it for any salad if you want to give it an Asian twist.
2. Making sushi rice
If you bought rice vinegar, you probably were in the Asian foods section of the store. So, you probably like this type of dishes. In this case, you should know that one of the best uses of rice wine vinegar is making sushi rice. Usually, sushi rice recipes ask for sushi vinegar, that’s made by mixing rice vinegar with sugar and salt.
3. For Asian sauces
Rice wine vinegar works just as well for cooked sauces. You can follow a precise recipe or experiment with different Asian ingredients to personalize classic foods to your taste. How about trying this sweet, spicy, and sour rice vinegar sauce?
4. For pickling
You can pickle cucumbers, bell peppers, or cauliflower using rice vinegar. For pickling, you should sink your vegetables in a mixture made of vinegar, water, and salt. Sometimes sugar is added too. Any vinegar works well — white vinegar, apple cider, white wine, and rice vinegar. But, as we were saying, rice vinegar is more subtle, so you should use it if you prefer salty pickles to the sour ones.
5. For making marinades
You could theoretically substitute rice vinegar for any other vinegar in marinade recipes, but it compliments Asian flavor profiles the best. For example, this marinade has rice vinegar, miso, teriyaki, and a little bit of sriracha. We used it for glazing chicken wings, but you can also try rice vinegar in many other marinades.
6. French fries or homemade chips
The acidity in the vinegar tends to give French fries or homemade chips a sharper flavor. You’ve probably already tried store-bought vinegar chips, right? So, why not to make them at home? You can use whatever vinegar type makes you happy or have on hand, but rice vinegar is best for a subtle sweet-and-sour flavor.
For a quick, healthy dinner with a lot of flavors, stir-fry some veggies and make a basic sauce. You just have to add soy sauce and rice vinegar to it. Combine the salty, tangy, and a little sweet flavor with boiled rice, to balance the flavors.