National Vinegar Month…Chinese Black Vinegar…

Originating in the city of Zhenjiang in Jiangsu province, it is quite literally black in colour and has a full-bodied, malty, complex taste. It is just mildly acidic, less so than a regular distilled white vinegar, with a faintly sweet flavour I hesitantly tasted a little as some vinegar can be quite acidic this was not… It had a slight smoky after taste I liked it.

Chinese black vinegar is widely used in Chinese cooking for all types of cold appetizers, braised meats and fish, noodles and as a dipping condiment for dumplings.

Also known as brown rice vinegar, black vinegar is used as a tonic in Chinese and Japanese cultures. It is made by fermenting unpolished rice, wheat, sorghum or millet. The vinegar ferments for 1 to 3 years and it is during the fermentation process that the colour of black vinegar darkens, its aroma and flavour get more intense and the content of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients increases.

Because black vinegar is believed to have many health benefits, many people in China and Japan make a drink out of it that they consume as a part of their daily diet.

Because black vinegar produces good-tasting substances while maturing, it is “easy to drink even for people who have difficulty drinking ordinary vinegar.” Black vinegar is also said to contain more amino acid than ordinary vinegar.

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Black vinegar is rich in a number of essential nutrients. Some of these nutrients help in the detoxification of the body. This rich vinegar also keeps the pH levels in your body well-balanced.

According to health experts, black vinegar helps in keeping the digestive system healthy. It aids in the improvement of digestion. When digestion is improved, you keep constipation and other abdominal problems away.

Substitutions for Black Vinegar:

If you can’t find black vinegar, you can substitute white rice vinegar/rice wine vinegar, which is usually more readily available, even in regular supermarkets.

It is also said, you can substitute a bit of balsamic vinegar, though be careful because some balsamic vinegar can be very syrupy and sweet.

Personally, I would opt for the black vinegar having tasted it and I am pleased that I waited until it was delivered. We all loved the Braised pork shoulder in black vinegar which as you know was the first time I had cooked with it…

Having tasted it though I also recognise the taste and have connected the dots that it is the dipping sauce we have had with dumplings…which I always thought was some sort of soy sauce.

Dumplings

My next two dishes I am going to try with be vegetable/vegan one will be a side dish of Cucumber…This delicious, cooling salad with a sweet edge helps to counter the chilli in very spicy dishes.

cucumbers-1588945_640

Ingredients:

  • 2/4 cucumbers depending on their size…Thai cucumbers are small but for this, I am going to use Japanese cucumbers as they are crispier and do not have as many seeds.
  • 50g castor sugar
  • 100ml Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Chinese light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1cm piece ginger, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh black fungi, torn into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Let’s Cook!

Cut the cucumber in half lengthways then, using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds. Cut them into large, angled chunks. In a bowl, dissolve castor sugar in the black vinegar and soy sauce then whisk in oil, garlic and ginger. Check to season.

Dress the cucumber and black fungi, coating well. Serve on a shared plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

cucumber black vinegar and black mushrooms

 

This dish comes together very quickly, so remember to prepare the sauce first in a mixing bowl before you start cooking. This is a very nice sauce…my testers were not keen on the mushrooms I liked them…

This second side dish a stir fry is using the stalks of the Chinese/napa cabbage only…as you know I use every part of an ingredient that I can, for example, I use the broccoli stalk sliced or in a stir fry it is a lovely vegetable…I will let you know later on in the week how this one turned out.

brocolli stems sliced

likewise, the stalk of Chinese cabbage is often wasted…cut away…I use this stir-fried as it has a little crunch and to use the leaves they wilt and add water which we don’t like… this stir fry is better with just the stalks and the napa cabbage leaves make another meal… They’re great in soups or just stir-fried with a little garlic and salt…Waste not want not…

For the sauce: 

  • 4 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce

For the rest of the dish: 

  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 3-6 dried red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 pound napa cabbage (stems only, sliced at an angle?
  • Salt, to taste

Start by making the sauce by mixing together all the sauce ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. In another small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 tbsp of water to make a slurry. Set aside. (Remember, cornstarch settles quickly, so remember to stir the slurry again before adding it to the dish later).

Is it just me or does anyone else dislike the feel when the cornstarch settles?

Heat the oil in a wok over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, chillies, and green onion, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the cabbage and turn up the heat to high. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Now add the prepared sauce and cook for another minute. Taste before you season with salt I generally don’t add salt as for us the soy sauce is salty enough. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and stir-fry for one more minute, until the sauce is thickened.

Serve this hot and sour napa cabbage stir-fry with steamed rice as a light snack or as a side with the main dish.

Isn’t stir-frying great? A dish can come together in 5 minutes! Enjoy!

I will giv youour opinion on this srir fry I am making this tomorrow.

Thats all for today I hope you are enoying the recipes with blackn vinegar…

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black vinegar

About Carol Taylor: 

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

 

14 thoughts on “National Vinegar Month…Chinese Black Vinegar…

  1. Pingback: Saturday Snippets… | Retired? No one told me!

  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2…weekly roundup 24th May-30th May 2020…Climate Change, Recipes, Whimsey, Vegan Coq Au Vin and Black Vinegar… | Retired? No one told me!

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Yes I am aware many of my readers follow a vegan diet.. Although I am at loss as to why natural occurences like eggs and honey fall foul of those rules although I understand why figs are a no no.. So I will try to provide some vegan recipes and ones which I like.. I eat a combo of many eating habits for want of a better word.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Jim Borden

        I’m not a stickler about honey, but I do avoid eggs, partly because of the inhumane way many chickens are raised…

        You seem to have a nice, balanced approach to eating…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. CarolCooks2 Post author

        I try, Jim…as I say I will never be completely vegan or vegetarian but I do make and eat many vegetable based meals and little meat now it is losing its appeal maybe thats an age thing..who knows…But I am a stickler for avoiding factory farmed meat and eggs as you know we grow our own as many Thais do here and our veg is organically grown which suits me..I know I am lucky and that can’t and doesn’t apply to many around the world but I am a believer in pots and window boxes which we did do in the Uk…as our garden was quite small…Be well and safe Jim 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Jim Borden

        I think there are more and more people raising their own chickens for the eggs, since it seems to be such a healthy food in many respects. And I try to buy my veggies organic as much as I can. You are fortunate to be where you are, but you made a conscious decision to do so, and I admire you for doing so. I hope you are safe as well.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I have only just started using it..I can’t get it locally or haven’t found it yet had to buy online but I really like it as it isn’t as acidic as normal white vinegar 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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