November 1st is National Vinegar Day.
While we’ve written about the different types of vinegar, today we’re focusing on rice vinegar, also called rice wine vinegar though it’s not made from rice wine.
Rice vinegar, made by fermenting rice, is the prevalent vinegar in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Basic rice vinegar ranges from colorless to pale yellow. There are also specialized rice vinegars used in cooking particular Chinese dishes.
Compared to cider vinegar, wine vinegar and distilled white vinegar, rice vinegar is less acidic with a delicate, mild sweetness. Tiny amounts of brown sugar and invert sugar are used in its production. A tablespoon has just 2.7 calories, the same as most other vinegars (balsamic vinegar is higher).
Rice vinegar is used to perk up or heighten flavors—it’s used to flavor sushi rice—while rice wine is used to add depth or sweetness to a recipe.
Rice vinegar can be used in everyday American cuisine, like these foods:
Cocktails. Balsamic vinegar has been used in cocktail recipes for some time. Rice wine vinegar gives a lift to savory cocktails. Try it in Bloody Marys, Dirty Martinis and cucumber-based cocktails. We like cucumber vodka with a splash of rice vinegar.
Marinades. Substitute rice wine vinegar for any other vinegar in marinades.
Pickling. Substitute half of the white vinegar for rice vinegar. If you like the difference (we do!), use 100% next time. You can try it today with quick pickling (pickled vegetables in just 2 hours!).
Salads & Slaws. Substitute rice vinegar in your salad dressing. Because it isn’t as tart as other vinegars, you can use a 2:1 or 1:1 ratio of rice vinegar to oil. Martha Stewart makes her rice vinaigrette with a 1:1 ration plus Dijon mustard, honey and lime juice (recipe). Definitely use it for fruit salad dressings.
Sautés. Add a tablespoon each of rice vinegar and soy sauce to beef, chicken and vegetable stir-frys.
Stir-Frys. Add a splash of rice vinegar for extra flavor. You can make a stir-fry sauce from 1 cup broth, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, whisked together. For a thick sauce, whisk in 1 teaspoon cornstarch and let sit for 10 minutes before adding to the stir-fry.
Vegetables. Substitute a bit of flavored rice vinegar for butter on cooked vegetables, including baked potatoes and French fries (instead of the traditional malt vinegar). The sprinkle-tops on Nakano bottles make this easy.
Nakano, currently, the #1 selling rice vinegar in the U.S., has a line of natural (no sugar added) and organic rice vinegars. In addition to the classic (plain) varieties, we’re especially attracted to the flavored vinegars, in:
The line is certified kosher by OU, and is available nationwide. FOR MORE INFORMATION visit NakanoSwaps.com.
HOW VINEGAR IS MADE
Ingredients For The Chicken
For The Salad
1. HEAT 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy skillet until very hot. Quickly sear the chicken on both sides. Pour orange juice and rice vinegar over the chicken; continue cooking over high heat until juice is evaporated and the chicken is glazed.
2. TURN the chicken once or twice during cooking. When chicken is fully glazed and cooked through…
3. REMOVE it from the heat and let cool while preparing the salad.
4. MAKE the salad dressing and set aside. SLICE the avocado and set aside. Slice the chicken. Combine the other salad ingredients and toss with the vinaigrette. Place in a large bowl or on individual plates.
5. ARRANGE the chicken and avocado slices atop the salad and serve.