Seasoned vs Unseasoned Rice Vinegar

Rice Wine Vinegar Oven

Rice wine is a clear wine with a strong taste. It can be enjoyed by itself or used for cooking Asian dishes. 

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Print RateCourse: Alcoholic drinkCuisine: ChineseKeyword: Rice Wine

Appliance: oven, Strainer

Prep Time: 15 minutesCook Time: 3 daysFermentation Time: 3 days

Total Time: 3 days 15 minutes

Servings: 1 Bottle [3] [4]

Rice Wine Vinegar vs. Mirin

Rice vinegar is also sometimes confused with a popular ingredient from Japan, mirin, which is the most common cooking wine (also made from rice) and is not to be confused with sake, the most common drinking wine.

Mirin is a relatively sweet, comparatively low alcohol-content (14 percent) wine that happens to be one of the ingredients in teriyaki sauce. Kikkoman, maker of soy sauce, produces the most ubiquitous version of mirin available in North America, which is used in making all kinds of soups (including ramen), marinades, and glazes; it is helpful in tenderizing meat. It pairs especially well with fish, and works in buta no kanuni, Japanese braised pork belly.


What Is Seasoned Rice Vinegar?

Seasoned rice vinegar is a type of rice vinegar that has added sugars and salts. It has a sweet flavor and often contains more calories than rice wine vinegar. Seasoned rice vinegar is typically used to flavor sushi rice or as part of a vinaigrette in salads, and it should not be used interchangeably with rice vinegar, which is much milder. You can make your own seasoned rice vinegar by adding salt and sugar to regular rice wine vinegar.

What Vinegars Can I Substitute For Rice Vinegar?

This is a common issue when dealing with Asian food. Since most of the recipes require some exotic ingredients that are sometimes pretty hard to find in ordinary grocery stores, people start wondering what they could use in food-making to replace the rare components in the recipes. 

The search for proper substitutes can be rather a time-consuming task that may end up with failure.

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash
Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Since it is mostly regarding sauces when such trouble happens, we can help to find those ingredients that you could substitute initial components for.

So, no more need to search for the answer surfing the internet since it is right here!

  • Apple cider vinegar is the best of all vinegars that you can substitute for the rice one. It is the same mild, besides, its gentle apple flavor won’t ruin the general aroma of the food. Feel free to use it in any recipe that asks for rice vinegar, and you won’t regret it.
  • Balsamic vinegar can also be a fine substitute, especially for salads, chicken, pizza, and other recipes like that. It is mellow sweet and tangy, a perfect component for sauces.
  • White wine and red wine vinegar can substitute for the rice one perfectly when it comes to making sauces, stews, and other hot savory dishes recipes.  
Homemade Rice vinegarHomemade Rice vinegar

 Of course, a question may occur whether other vinegars (for instance, white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar) could be ok for that purpose.

However, everything is not so simple since not all vinegars can replace rice vinegar the same well. What you must pay attention to is not the color of vinegars but their taste and odor.

For instance, white vinegar is not the best choice for food since it is too harsh and sour unlike the rice vinegar with its mild taste and sweetness. 

A frequent question that people often ask is “Can I use plain white wine instead of rice vinegar when cooking?”. Well, it’s up to you in fact. White wine is far less strong compared to its Japanese counterpart, and it is not so sweet. Quite many recipes exist that ask for white wine so if you don’t want (or have no time) to search for the rice wine vinegar, it’s ok to replace it with regular wine.

How to Make Vinegar Using Rice Wine, Vinegar &How to Make Vinegar Using Rice Wine, Vinegar & Berries : Preparing Healthy Foods

What Is Sushi Vinegar?

Sushi Vinegar or Seasoned Rice Vinegar is what you can use in making sushi rice. It doesn’t undergo any fermentation process. Thus, you can create it with a standard recipe, including rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Most of the time, the ratio sushi chefs use is 5:3:1. You can already notice that it has a sweet, salty, and sour taste from these components. 

Keeping the fish and rice from spoiling was a challenging task when there was no electric refrigerator. Thus, vinegar has been a popular way of preserving these foods.

When left at room temperature, cooked rice, due to a bacterium’s spores, tends to spoil within a few hours. All the essential anti-bacterial agents that can slow down a bacterium’s spores are vinegar, salt, and sugar. So, from both practical and taste points of view, using sushi for cooked rice makes sense.

What kind of salt, sugar, and vinegar should you use? Many recipes call for vinegar for rice. As rice vinegar is made from rice, it makes sense; it should go well with cooked rice. When mixed with fish, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and champagne vinegar may be too strong to use as sushi vinegar. 

Some use strawberry and peach vinegar as fruit vinegar, and vegetarian sushi works well with them. Check out this quick guide in making sushi vinegar.

Can They Be Used Interchangeably?

While both rice wine vinegar and rice vinegar are made from rice, they are different products and therefore shouldn’t be used interchangeably. If you’re looking for a substitute,

  • apple cider makes a suitable replacement for rice vinegar, whereas,
  • dry white wine or pale dry sherry make good substitutes for rice wine vinegar.

Interesting fact: Alcohol content of rice wine vinegar is about 18-20% ABV.

Different Types of Vinegar

Every kitchen should have vinegar in the cupboard, but did you know there are many different types of vinegar available?

  • Distilled white vinegar: This is the type used in most cooking and found in most homes. It has a harsh smell and a sharp, bitter taste. The vinegar is extracted from grain and is very crisp.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Usually added to Italian dishes, this vinegar is made by fermenting grapes. It adds a lovely zesty, sweet flavor. Its unique taste makes it a perfect addition to sweet or savory dishes.
  • Red wine vinegar: When added to dishes it gives them a sweet, less acidic taste which makes it ideal for reductions or vinaigrettes.
  • White wine vinegar: Made from white wine it has a light taste and is the perfect addition to soups or to make dressings for salad.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Many people use this vinegar for weight loss or as a toner for their skin, but it can also be used in salad dressings, chutneys, and marinades.
  • Champagne vinegar: known for its very mild flavor it’s an excellent addition to seafood dishes. It can also be added to sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.
  • Lemon or lime: Although it isn’t technically vinegar, it can be added to rice vinegar to be used in salad dressings, and sauces. Double the amount of lemon that you add to rice vinegar to add extra acidity to your dish. This will give your dish a very distinctive flavor.
  • Seasoned rice vinegar: This is created by adding sugar and salt to regular rice vinegar. As this vinegar will be much sweeter, don’t forget to remove four tablespoons of sugar from the original recipe.

Watch this YouTube video to find out how to make rice white wine at home:

What Is Rice Wine Vinegar?

This type of vinegar retains it alcohol content. Pay close attention to what you are buying and what it is titled. There are subtle differences between all three of these, and your food will turn out different based on whether you are using rice wine vinegar vs white wine vinegar, or rice wine vs rice wine vinegar. Pay close attention to what the recipe calls for that you are using. You could end up severely altering the flavour of the food and making it not quite taste right if you use the wrong ingredient.

Rice wine vinegar is made by fermenting the starch from rice using Mother of Vinegar. This creates something that is a cross between rice wine and rice vinegar. You get all the perkiness and flavour intensity of a vinegar with the alcohol content and sweetness of rice wine.

So this vinegar is a bit sweeter than regular rice vinegar. Comparing rice wine vinegar vs rice vinegar, you can use these on the same dishes, but you get different flavour results. Your rice wine vinegar will make the food sweeter than the plain rice vinegar will. After the fermentation process, some rice wine is added, and this sweetens up the end product even more. The effect this has on the vinegar is that it turns the sugar into alcohol and then into an acid called acetic acid.

Many people will use the terms rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar interchangeably, but as you can see but the way they are fermented and processed, that isn’t the right way to classify them. They are not the same thing, and you’ll get a different flavour in whatever dish you are making when using rice wine vinegar vs rice wine.

You also don’t want to mix the rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar up with red wine vinegar. The flavour profile is a bit different with that one too. When we look at rice wine vinegar vs red wine vinegar, the red wine vinegar will be more acidic and taste a bit different. The red wine vinegar is closer to traditional vinegar like white vinegar. It does retain its alcoholic content, though. Anytime vinegar has the word “wine” in it, it will have some alcohol.

Now that you understand some of the difference, we hope you won’t confuse these and won’t feel the need to use them interchangeably. Understanding the differences between the different kinds of wines and vinegar help you to make more suitable choices for whatever you are cooking and ensures that you don’t make a mistake when buying ingredients from the grocery.

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