“Black vinegar is black due to a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction,” where carbohydrates interact with amino acids, he explains. Su Nan WeiHe is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Chemistry at National Taiwan University. “The important point is that the main ingredients are made from grains.” The grains give the vinegar a basic, malt-like flavor, and the Maillard reaction is responsible for producing umami notes.
Black vinegar varies depending on where and how it was made and who made it.
China is the birthplace of grain-based black vinegarThe process eventually spread throughout Asia and took on a life of its own. generally, There are four main regional varieties in ChinaShanxi Province, north China, is famous for its vinegar made from corn, wheat, and barley. The city of Zhenjiang in southern China, commonly referred to as Chinkiang vinegar, is made with sticky rice. Sichuan contains black vinegar made from wheat bran and seasoned with a tart blend of Chinese medicine spices. Finally, Fujian Province in eastern China makes sticky rice vinegar filled with special mushrooms that give the finished product a darker red color than black.
Outside of China, Japan and Korea use brown rice as the primary starch for black vinegar. Taiwanese black vinegar, which starts with sticky rice, is the most distant from the batch in that it is actually more similar to Worcestershire sauce In production. Worcestershire is made by soaking a barley vinegar base with ingredients like molasses, anchovies, garlic, and tamarind extract. Taiwanese black vinegar is similar in that much of its flavor comes from an infusion. First, basic vinegar is made from sticky rice. “Then we add carrots, onions, vegetables, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc., which have been soaked for at least a year,” Cindy Cheng, A spokesman for Kong Yen, Taiwan’s largest industrial black vinegar manufacturer. Wu Yin Vinegar, another major Taiwanese vinegar brand, makes rice vinegar with Taiwanese sticky rice and barley. “They were impregnated with our starters over 100 years ago for eight months,” he says. Kao Chi Ting, Owner, Wu Yin Vinegar, before soaking it in licorice and caramel.
Taiwanese black vinegar says its aroma is simpler, richer, and cleaner Ivy Chen, A cooking teacher in Taipei. “Chinese vinegar, due to the aging process, is deeper and has more flavor” with an unconventional smell.
Since black vinegar recipes are very different – depending on country, region and company – the rule of thumb is to take cues from the region the vinegar is from And the dishes that are famous for the region. “Shanxi vinegar is good for noodles. Zhenjiang vinegar is good for salads,” Lin advises. In Taiwan, vinegar is used in moderation – a drop or two over the finished soup. And in China, it is often used in combination with soy sauce. But if all of this is so confusing, you can’t go wrong with a universal dressing made of equal parts soy, vinegar, and oil.
Add a pinch of salt, garlic, and sugar. This is a very basic sauce that can be put on salads, pasta, or even used as a sauce Dipping sauceLin says.
Black vinegar + watermelon:
Clarissa Wei Freelance American journalist based in Taiwan.