Black vinegar is a staple in many Chinese dishes. It gives the dishes their spiciness as well as their flavorful nature. This ingredient can be used in many other dishes you may create. It can make great gravies as well as sauces. If you have no black vinegar on hand but need some for a recipe, there are many substitutes that you can choose from to replace the black vinegar.
There are many substitutes that can be used to replace black vinegar when you have none. Most of the common substitutes for black vinegar are other types of vinegar, such as rice vinegar or red wine vinegar. There are some other substitutes that are not vinegar that you probably would not consider to be a substitute for black vinegar, like apple juice.
Continue reading to learn more about black vinegar. Also, continue reading to learn about seven different substitutes that you can use to replace black vinegar when you have none.
What is Black Vinegar?
Black vinegar is used in many dishes, primarily in Chinese cuisine. Black vinegar is a grain-based vinegar that is made using rice, millet, or sorghum.
The vinegar is black in color and is often made using fermented black sticky rice or fermented glutinous rice. It originates from the city of Zhenjiang in the Jiangsu province of China. The vinegar is known to be malty, full-bodied, and have a complex taste that is mildly acidic.
It is used in Chinese cooking for many dishes, including:
- Cold appetizers
- Dipping for dumplings
- Braised fish and meat
It is most commonly used to add sweetness as well as acidity to the dish. Many claim that black vinegar is the same as soy sauce, but they are wrong.
Is Black Vinegar the Same as Soy Sauce?
Black vinegar is not the same as soy sauce. The two are often used together in many Chinese dishes, but they are not the same thing.
Black vinegar and soy sauce are made using different processes. While soy sauce and vinegar is made using fermented ingredients, different ingredients are used to make each one which gives them a different flavor profile.
You will also find that black vinegar and soy sauce have completely different uses when it comes to cooking, and they do not make good substitutes for each other. You do not want to use black vinegar in place of soy sauce or vice versa.
What Can You Replace Black Vinegar With?
Since soy sauce does not make a good substitute for black vinegar, it may make you wonder what you can use to replace black vinegar in certain recipes when you have no black vinegar on hand. There are many different options that you can choose from to replace black vinegar in recipes.
Most of these substitutes are other types of vinegar. Two of the below listed are substitutes that not many consider to use when they run out of black vinegar. All of these are great choices when you want to make Asian cuisine but are out of black vinegar.
Rice vinegar is one of the most obvious substitutes that you can choose to use when you run out of black vinegar. Both rice vinegar and black vinegar are grain-based vinegars that are made using fermented rice.
Rice vinegar is one substitute for black vinegar that you can use in any dish that requires black vinegar. It works perfectly as a substitute because rice vinegar has a similar flavor profile to black vinegar. It has some sweetness, but it also has some acidity.
To substitute rice vinegar for black vinegar, you want to use one tablespoon of rice vinegar for every tablespoon of black vinegar that the recipe requires.
Balsamic vinegar is another vinegar that you can substitute in recipes in place of black vinegar. Unlike black vinegar, balsamic vinegar is made using grapes, so it has a much sweeter flavor compared to black vinegar.
Due to this sweetness, you do not want to use a 1:1 ratio when substituting balsamic vinegar for black vinegar. It is best to use less balsamic vinegar. The sweetness can overpower the dish if you use too much. It is best to use a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for every two tablespoons of black vinegar that the recipe will require.
Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar is made using fermented red wine. This vinegar does not have a similar taste or acidity level to black vinegar. This vinegar, like balsamic vinegar, is much sweeter compared to black vinegar. For this reason, it is best to not use a 1:1 ratio when substituting.
The color of red wine vinegar is a dark, brownish color, so the color of your dish will not change much with this substitution. To substitute red wine vinegar for black vinegar, you want to use a tablespoon of red wine vinegar for every two tablespoons of black vinegar that the recipe requires.
Lemon Juice with Honey
Many of us would not think of using lemon juice mixed with honey as a substitute for black vinegar, but this mixture works really well. It is one of the least popular substitutes, but it works well to add acidity and sweetness to your dish. You can also add more honey to the mixture if you are looking to add more sweet flavor.
You can use two tablespoons of this mixture of lemon juice and honey to substitute one tablespoon of black vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can also make a great substitute for black vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has a flavor that is similar to black vinegar. It is sweet and acidic.
The flavor of apple cider vinegar may be one that you enjoy more compared to the flavor of black vinegar. This vinegar is made using fermented apple juice. This gives the vinegar its sweet and apple-like taste.
To substitute apple cider vinegar for black vinegar, you want to use a 1:1 equal ratio. You will use one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for one tablespoon of black vinegar that the recipe requires.
White Wine Vinegar
White wine vinegar has a similar acidity to black vinegar, but it is nowhere near as sweet. Using white wine vinegar as a substitute for black vinegar in dishes may cause the dishes to have a different color compared to how the dish is supposed to look.
You can add honey or sugar with white wine vinegar in order to get the sweet taste. To substitute white wine vinegar for black vinegar, you want to use one tablespoon of white wine vinegar to substitute for two tablespoons of black vinegar in the recipe you are preparing.
The sweetness and acidity of apple juice allows for it to work as a substitute for black vinegar. You want to use a proper ratio when it comes to substituting apple juice for black vinegar. If you use too little, the apple juice will not work as a proper substitute. To substitute apple juice for black vinegar, you want to use three tablespoons of apple juice to replace one tablespoon of black vinegar.
Black vinegar is often used in Asian cuisine. It is not the same as soy sauce, but it has many different uses. When you run out of black vinegar, there are many substitutes you can use. Many substitutes are other types of vinegar, like red wine vinegar and rice vinegar, but you can also use apple juice or a mixture of lemon juice with honey as well.