A balsamic vinegar makes steaks and strawberries and salads sing. A shot of red wine vinegar tempers creamy egg yolks into the best balanced breakfast. And somewhat-aggressive white vinegar cleans your kitchen or creates a finger-licking glaze. But what about black vinegar?
Characterized by a bold salty, smoky, slightly-fruity flavor, black vinegar—also called Chinkiang or Zhenjiang (the city it originated from) vinegar—is typically made from fermented glutinous rice. Every Grain of Rice author Fuchsia Dunlop writes that good black vinegar derives its color from charred rice and has a mellow, complex flavor with slight acidity. It's less sweet than balsamic, but not as tart as sherry or red wine vinegar.
The black vinegar mix can be used for a lot of things, but is particularly good for counterbalancing raw ingredients that are on the sweet side, like sweet potatoes, parsnips, and Jerusalem artichokes, he says.
Do you use black vinegar? Share your favorite ways in the comments below!