If you love Asian cuisine, you probably know these two common ingredients – Rice Wine and Rice Vinegar. These ingredients are used in several Asian dishes to improve qualities and induce flavor for a toothsome meal.
However, most people often think both of them are the same since they are produced using fermented rice. Sadly, these ingredients are not the same, which pops a lot of questions in your mind.
If you’ve got questions regarding these ingredients, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll discuss the difference between rice vinegar vs. rice wine vinegar and other alternatives to these ingredients.
What is Rice Wine
Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage that can also be used for cooking. In Northeast India, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, rice wine is consumed traditionally. This alcohol is produced by fermenting rice starch by using lactic acid bacteria, fungi, and yeast.
Also, they are available in varieties such as sake, mirin, Shaoxing. The alcohol content of rice wine ranges between 18 – 25% ABV.
What is Rice Vinegar
Rice vinegar, or rice wine vinegar as commonly known, is made by fermenting rice sugar to produce alcohol then into an acid. Unlike the white distilled vinegar, this ingredient has a mild, delicate, and sweet flavor, and it is less acidic. Thus, it’s often used in salad dressings and marinades, as well as pickling vegetables.
Rice Vinegar Uses
Rice vinegar has lots of applications in Asain cuisine, especially as a cooking ingredient. The rice vinegar is usually added to cold and hot recipes to enhance your vegetable dishes and basic meat’s flavor. Also, rice vinegar can function as a green household cleaner for bathrooms, floors, and counters.
Stir-frying benefits from a drizzle of rice vinegar and Asian sauces like eel sauce or soy sauce for authentic taste and extra flavor. Saute baby corn, snap peas, beef, and chicken with a tsp of rice vinegar and soy sauce for a delectable meal.
Simple salad dressing is made using canola oil, olive oil or vegetable oil, and rice vinegar. Also, you can sprinkle a tsp of oil and two tsp of rice vinegar on your salad ingredients. However, it’s best to toss the salad for a proper mix of the dressing before serving.
Vegetables and Fruits
Rice vinegar can be added to fruit or vegetable dishes since it has an exquisite quality that won’t overpower your taste buds. This ingredient comes in handy for enhancing the flavor of carrots, broccoli, or other types of vegetable side dishes. As said earlier, rice vinegar is used in making fruit salad dressing without leaving a salty aftertaste.
Like most vinegar, this ingredient serves as a natural cleaning agent. Just mix rice vinegar with an equal amount of water to clean sinks and counters. Also, adding a small amount of rice vinegar to a bucket of water to mop your floor.
Is rice vinegar the same as rice wine vinegar?
Both rice wine and rice vinegar are produced from fermenting rice, but they differ in production processes. Rice wine is made from fermenting freshly steamed glutinous rice, while rice vinegar is sometimes made from lees or dregs. The latter leaves no alcohol and is a bit acidic.
Rice wine features a savory, mild flavor with lower alcohol concentration, while the other also has a sweet but acidic taste like apple cider vinegar. However, rice vinegar, unlike rice wine, is best used in small quantities.
Rice wine can be consumed directly as an alcoholic beverage or used as a cooking ingredient. When used to cook, rice wine is added directly into sauces or marinades or to dishes. On the other hand, rice vinegar is added to pickled vegetables, fried rice, sauces, marinades, and sushi to enhance flavor.
Rice Wine Vinegar Substitute
There are lots of substitutes for rice vinegar but with a slightly different flavor:
- Apple cider vinegar adds color and mild flavor to vinaigrettes, marinades, and sushi.
- Sherry vinegar has a similar taste to rice vinegar, which makes it perfect for substitutes.
- White wine vinegar is used in vinaigrettes, marinades, and sauces.
- Red wine vinegar is perfect for rich meat dishes, sauces, and marinades.
- Balsamic vinegar is best for pizza, chicken, and salads.
- Lime or lemon is great for sauces and salad dressings.
- Champagne vinegar offers a mild flavor that lends well to salad dressings, sauces, marinades, and seafood dishes.
However, you need to add a pinch of sweetener like sugar to match the rice vinegar’s sweetness.
Type of Vinegar
There are several types of vinegar: Distilled White Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Rice Vinegar, Malt Vinegar, Red Rice Vinegar, Champagne Vinegar, Sherry Vinegar, Black (Chinkiang) Vinegar, Cane Vinegar, Beer Vinegar, Raisin Vinegar, and Apricot Vinegar.
Rice Wine Vinegar Ingredients
Rice wine vinegar is mainly made of rice and water.
Can I Use Rice Vinegar Instead Of Rice Wine
While they are made from fermented rice, these ingredients cannot be used interchangeably. But dry white wine or pale, dry sherry are decent substitutes for rice wine, and for rice wine vinegar, you might want to consider apple cider vinegar.
Rice Vinegar vs. Rice Wine Vinegar: Conclusion
Rice wine and rice vinegar are both made from fermenting rice. However, the latter undergoes more processes to get rid of the alcohol to result in acetic acid. The different processing stages are the underlying reason why these ingredients are not the same and used for different purposes.
Rice wine is perfect for drinking and cooking. Common varieties include sake, mirin, and huangjiu. However, if you are looking for a substitute, then you should try white grape juice, dry vermouth, white wine, or dry sherry.
On the other hand, rice vinegar is mainly used for salad dressings, sauces, marinades, and sushi. For alternative options, you can opt for white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or apple cider vinegar and add a pinch of sugar or any preferred sweeter to replicate the taste.
Hopefully, you understand the difference between rice vinegar vs. rice wine vinegar and make the right call.