Updated: Mar 19
Have you ever wondered what are the different types of vinegar found at a Japanese supermarket? What are their uses?
In this article, I’m mentioning the following things below:
<Types of vinegar used in Japanese food>
1. What kinds of vinegar do we have in Japan? 2. What are the benefits of using vinegar into your cooking? 3. How do you use vinegar? 4. Japanese food recipes that use vinegar
This article is based on what types of vinegar I use in my Japanese cooking, along with my very personal preference and thoughts. I hope this article will be helpful to you in your shopping and cooking of Japanese food.
<What kinds of vinegar do we have in Japan?>
1. GRAIN VINEGAR = 穀物酢 (KOKUMOTSUSU)
This vinegar is made from many kinds of grains such as rice, barley, sake lees and corn. This is probably the most popular type of vinegar in Japan. To me, it has a strong acidity but it also very refreshing. It can be applied to many dishes since it doesn’t have much distinctive aroma.
2. RICE VINEGAR = 米酢 (KOMEZU)
The major component in this vinegar is only rice. It’s not as tangy as grain vinegar. The rice gives this vinegar a nice sweetness and also brings a mild tanginess to it. I use this rice vinegar most often since my kids are sensitive to acidity.Also, it goes well with rice such as making sushi rice.
3. SUSHI VINEGAR = すし酢（SUSHIZU)
Sushi vinegar is vinegar seasoned with salt and sugar. Some brands are also flavored with kombu (type of kelp). This vinegar is not only for sushi rice, but is great for making dressings. My kids are sensitive to acidity, so I prefer to use this one since it’s balanced out with tanginess and sweetness.
4. BLACK VINEGAR= 黒酢 (KUROZU)
The major component of this vinegar is brown rice and barley. As you can easily imagine, it has a deeper, mellow and more unique flavor than the other vinegars listed above. To be honest, I barely use this kind since the black color changes the overall look of a dish. I should use this more often since it is more nutritious than the other vinegars!!
5. PONZU = ポン酢 (PONZU)
This is not 100% pure vinegar. It usually contains vinegar + soy sauce + sugar + citrus juice (yuzu, kabosu etc.)
Of course, it has an acidity just like the other vinegars have, but it contains more flavor. I use this as a dressing. You may find that the taste of ponzu really differs depending on the brand, so try a couple different kinds to find your own preference! My favorite brand is this one because it's all natural!
Other than the vinegars listed above, I also use the two vinegars listed below which might be familiar with you. These two are categorized as fruit vinegars.
5. WINE VINEGAR
6. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
<What are the health benefits of using vinegar in your cooking?>
I learned 5 health benefits of consuming vinegar while researching:
1.EFFECTIVE AT BURNING FAT!
Amino acids and citric acid components contained in vinegar have a function that help to burn fat. It is said that the effect of weight loss is high due to that factor.
2. HELPS YOU TO RECOVER FROM FATIGUE
The abundant amount of citric acid found in moromi vinegar decomposes lactic acid and sugar. It is said that the acidified bodies are changed to alkaline which helps to recover from fatigue.
3. FACILITATE THE SMOOTH FLOW OF BLOOD FUNCTION
Rice vinegar is said to have the effect of facilitating the smooth flow of muddy blood, which causes arteriosclerosis.
4. LOWERS BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Blood sugar levels rise mainly through meals. Vinegar has an effect of suppressing blood sugar levels that have risen sharply after eating.
5. SUPPRESSING THE GROWTH OF BACTERIA
As I mentioned on Bento blog, vinegar has an effect of suppressing the growth of bacteria. It has been proven to be effective against bacteria that harm the human body, such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella.
I can’t go any deeper now but you can imagine how beneficial it is for you to use vinegar in your cooking! Knowing the benefits to your body makes you realize the value of consuming vinegar. It helps not only with the physical but also mental, which always is meaningful when you cook something.
<How to use it?>
I’ll show you how you can apply vinegar to your cuisine effectively.
1. USE IT TO TENDERIZE MEAT
I often use it when I am braising chicken. You don't taste the acidity much but the meat literally fall apart when you take a bite.
2. TO REDUCE THE FISHY SMELL
Marinating a deep fried fish is my staple.
I’ll post the recipe for sure!
3. TO SIMPLY ADD MORE FLAVOR, HENCE YOU CAN REDUCE THE SODIUM CONTENT
It's used as a dipping sauce for gyoza dumplings. I combine soy sauce, chili oil and rice vinegar. By adding in a little bit of vinegar, it elevates the taste to the next level.
4. TO USE IT FOR PRESERVATION
Mix 2 cups of rice + 1 tbsp of vinegar. I make this especially for a bento box.
5. HELPS TO COAGULATE EGG WHITES
Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 liter of water and then boil the eggs. Even if the egg shell has cracked, the egg white will coagulate due to the acid and will not flow out as much. You will achieve a better looking result.
< JAPANESE FOOD RECIPES USING VINEGAR>
Vinegar is categorized as a fermented product. It really has a health benefit for your gut, only if you are using a reasonable amount. Use vinegar wisely and effectively to boost your immune system and to stimulate the appetite when you don’t feel like eating much.
If you have any comments or questions, I’ll be happy to answer them on Instagram!
Thank you very much for reading this!
Learn more about Japanese ingredients!
- First E-cookbooks are now available！ I hope this will be helpful and enjoyable in your kitchen^^
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-If you need very sharp quality knife, I highly recommend this handmade Japanese knife made by 80 years old Japanese maker!