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Mitch Tonks’s Secret Ingredient: Chinese Black Vinegar

Less harsh than other vinegars, it makes for a fragrant dipping sauce and is amazing with fish.

Chinese black vinegar is a fermented vinegar, dark black and made from glutinous rice – it’s not hard to find in shops.

There are two types, unsweetened and sweetened, which is really delicious and the one I like. I use it a lot. I’ll add a little bit at the end of a braise; it just lifts it with a slight sweetness and acidity – really good.

It’s less harsh than other vinegars, so you could use it in a Chinese braised pork dish, but the flavour means it’s also fantastic as a dipping sauce. I sometimes add crispy shallots, crispy garlic, crispy chillies to it – all fried up crisp – with a bit of sesame oil to make a dressing. I make a numbing sauce with it. To do this, you can boil up the black vinegar with dried chilli, Sichuan peppercorns, soy and a bit of water for a fragrant dipping sauce.

If steaming white fish – say with ginger, spring onions, soy sauce, that kind of thing – then put lots of grated ginger in the Chinese vinegar, and you get a really amazing sauce to go with it.

Source : The Guardian

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