Rice vinegar

Makes your sushi shine

In addition to choosing the right type of rice and the perfect technique for serving it, another component plays a key role in the making of sushi: the preparation of the perfect sushi rice. One ingredient in particular is important here, namely the rice vinegar. But is rice vinegar always made from rice and how much rice vinegar should be added to the sushi rice to achieve the perfect mixture? Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about rice vinegar (and probably more).

Unusually mild acidity

As the name suggests, rice vinegar is made from rice. However, not only rice is used: rice wine is also a popular product from which the vinegar can be extracted. Traditionally, however, it is made from Japanese rice, the so-called “urumai”. First of all, it is steamed. In order to induce a fermentation process, the steamed rice is then enriched with koji spores, yeast bacteria and, last but not least, acetic acid bacteria.

The special thing about rice vinegar is its distinctly mild taste, which has been adapted to the preferences of its main consumers. While the popular apple vinegar has an acetic acid content of 5-6 %, the mild rice vinegar contains only 3-4 % acetic acid. Typically, rice vinegar has a clear, slightly yellowish colour, but there is also black rice vinegar. This tastes slightly malty and is somewhat similar to soy sauce. You can even find red rice vinegar on the shelves of Asian shops, where a special mushroom is added during the production process providing a special aroma.

Which rice vinegar is to be recommended?

In the ConFusion online shop you will find selected brands and varieties that are distinguished by their high quality. For example, the traditional Japanese white rice vinegar from Mizkan is an inexpensive option that is ideal for seasoning sushi rice. An excellent organic variant is made by Sennari from high-quality Akita rice. But the Wasabi Company’s products leave nothing to be desired either: the Marusho vinegars are fermented and matured in 100-year-old cedar barrels, individually named after sumo masters, and are characterised by great authenticity. A very special variant here is the so-called Sanbaizu rice vinegar, which also contains the aromas of kombu, bonito flakes, mirin and mushrooms. This vinegar, a long-kept secret of top chefs, is ideal for marinating vegetables and for refining dressings and sauces.

What else is rice vinegar used for?

The most common use of rice vinegar is in the preparation of sushi rice. The rice vinegar is mixed with a little salt and sugar and then added to the rice. This process not only ensures the necessary consistency and spicy taste of the rice, but also gives it a particularly appetising sheen. You can learn the exact amount and what else is important in the preparation of sushi in our cooking class on Sushi Tokyo Style.

But you can use rice vinegar not only for sushi. It is excellent for refining dips and sauces, for marinating fish and meat. You can also use rice vinegar as a stand-alone dip when you need to make it quick: In combination with dumplings, tofu or vegetable dishes, the vinegar can develop its mild aroma excellently. While black rice vinegar is mainly used for wok dishes, red rice vinegar is very suitable for refining spicy dishes.


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