Chinese dark vinegar is an intriguing combination of tart and sweet. It makes a great dipping sauce for any flavour dumpling. For native Chinese, most will use a standard rice bowl and half fill it with vinegar to dunk their dumplings. Some even drink the vinegar as they say it helps and improves your skin. We on the other hand prefer to dunk our dumplings to provide that unique taste to complement the savoury filling of the dumplings.
Chinese rice vinegars are stronger than Japanese ones, and range in colour from clear to various shades of red and brown. Chinese and especially Japanese vinegars are very mild and sweet compared to distilled and more acidic Western vinegars which, for that reason, are not appropriate substitutes for rice vinegars. Chinese rice vinegars are made from huangjiu, a type of rice wine.
So how does White, Black or Red Vinegar differ?
White rice vinegar is a colourless to pale yellow liquid, higher in acetic acid than other Chinese vinegars, but still less acidic and milder in flavour than Western vinegars.
Black rice vinegar is very popular in southern China. Chinkiang Vinegar, which originated in the city of Zhenjiang (镇江香醋 ) in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu, is considered the best of the black rice vinegars. Normally black rice vinegar is made with black glutinous rice (also called “sweet rice”), although millet or sorghum may be used instead. It is dark in colour, and has a deep, almost smoky flavour. In addition to Zhenjiang, it is also produced in Hong Kong.
Red rice vinegar has a distinctive red colour from Red yeast rice (红曲米), which is cultivated with the mold Monascus purpureus. This vinegar has a distinctive flavour of its own due to the red mold.
Red yeast rice, a Chinese dietary supplement, is popular because of its properties as a natural statin. This fermented rice product is used as a medicinal food to improve blood circulation by decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
In Chinese cookbooks, ½ tablespoon of Western distilled white vinegar is stated to be equivalent in strength to 1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar, and recipes which call for 4 teaspoons of red rice vinegar could be substituted with only 3 teaspoons of white vinegar.
A must have accompaniment! Traditionally, when eating dumplings in China, people will use a small side bowl half full of vinegar with the sole purpose of dunking the dumpling so it can absorb the vinegar completely. If you’ve boiled your dumplings, it will be common for some residual water to remain within the dumpling and when you dunk you it into the vinegar, after a few times, the vinegar will become diluted and lighter in taste due to the water. We admit that for some people, the hard taste of the vinegar may be too much to begin with, but ultimately it’s all down to personal taste.
We love our daily dumpling fixes and usually we’d use at least 2 x 35ml pots for 12 dumplings for the full flavour experience, but for first timers you can always start with 1 x 35ml pot per 12 dumplings to gauge the unique taste. Whether you boil, pan fry or steam, dunking your dumpling into a bowl of vinegar is the said thing to do, so when in Rome, always do what the Romans do! Or in this case, China.
Available in a 35ml pot.
Allergen Information: This product contains wheat gluten
Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans.
|Ingredients: Water, Glutinous Rice, Wheat Bran, Sugar, Salt.|
|Nuts & Allergens: This product contains wheat gluten.|