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Types of vinegar for cooking

Vinegar is not a common ingredient in Indian kitchens, but we do love our homemade paneer and desi Chinese dishes. This is how vinegar first found a place on our shelves. With health food agendas, our consumption of salads and the like have seen a considerable increase. A dash of vinegar in the dressing or a simple vinaigrette makes it much more inviting indeed.

So, let us explore the different kinds of vinegar that can be used to balance out the flavours of different ingredients while adding its own tart flavour.

Distilled White Vinegar

This is the most basic vinegar that is pure grain-based ethanol. It is quite sharp and pungent in taste and thus requires only a small quantity. It is often used in conjunction with lime as a cleaning agent. It is an excellent alternative to other chemical cleaning agents when it comes to keeping ovens, stoves and floors impeccable.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

Called ACV for short, apple cider vinegar is touted as a fantastic health-promoting ingredient. As the taste of ACV is mild, it blends wonderfully in salads and coleslaws. Its fruity overtones work well in cooked sauces and for marinating fish and poultry.

Balsamic Vinegar

This vinegar is black in colour and has a slightly sweet overtone. Balsamic vinegar can range in price according to its ageing process, which mostly takes place in oak barrels. It is made directly from grapes and doesn’t have any alcohol content. The younger vinegar pairs well with olive oil in dressings for salads and dips. You can use the more expensive luxury balsamic vinegar as a drizzle over various dishes.

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Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is fermented from rice wine and is a much sweeter variety than most other kinds of vinegar. It is also less acidic and goes well with Asian fish and sushi dishes and as dipping sauces. Its gentle tone sits well in homemade marinades too.

Red Wine Vinegar

Wine vinegar is the every-day vinegar used in European dishes. As the red wine vinegar is more pungent and acidic, it goes well in wholesome recipes with heavier flavours like that of beef and pork. They make for great marinades too.

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White Wine Vinegar

This vinegar is not as sharp as its counterpart, the red wine vinegar. It has a distinct fruity overtone and is a favoured choice to make vinaigrettes and for pickling vegetables. It pairs well with chicken and fish dishes as well as creamy salads.

We wish you happy cooking with a punch of vinegar!

Article by Payal Kurian

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