Japanese rice vinegar
Komezu, or Japanese rice vinegar is a mild vinegar that is used to make sushi rice, pickled vegetables and other traditional Japanese dishes. Rice wine vinegar makes a great salad dressing and works well with fish as it tones down any "fishy" odor.
Health benefits of rice vinegar
Rice vinegar has been consumed in Japan for its medicinal value for thousands of years. Rice wine vinegar contains 20 kinds of amino acids that boost the immune system and lower cholesterol. Rice vinegar increases the body's ability to absorb nutrients, has been shown to be helpful in lowering blood glucose levels, and effectively kills bacteria on contact. Japanese rice vinegar is generally gluten-free.
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Types of rice vinegar
Seasoned and natural
There are two varieties of Japanese rice vinegar commonly available in US grocery stores: Seasoned and unseasoned. Seasoned rice vinegar has sake, sugar and salt added. I prefer to cook with unseasoned rice vinegar and add my own seasonings.
Brown rice vinegar
Brown rice vinegar is most noted for its health benefits as it has 5 times the amino acids. The sediment at the bottom of the bottle is normal and a sign of a high quality vinegar.
Other types of rice vinegar
Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures also have their version of rice vinegar, including black and red rice vinegars. Some of these rice vinegars are brewed with wheat, barley and other ingredients.
Mirin is not rice vinegar
Mirin is a sweet rice wine that contains alcohol and sugar. Do not substitue mirin for rice wine vinegar.