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TheNoodleIncident

Cooking with Rice Wine

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so i was waiting to make my first post something thought provoking or highly useful, but i realized it would be LONG time if i kept waiting for that.....so instead ill go with a random, simple question i have

so the other day i made the chinese dish "ants climbing a tree" - really simple dish of bean (glass) noodles, ground pork, green onions, and various seasonings (came out great, btw)....my particular recipe called for rice wine (NOT rice wine vinegar, which i know and love)....my local asian market only had the large (750ml?) bottle, but since it was only $2, i went for it

i only used a tablespoon of the stuff, so now i have this entire large bottle left....i gave it a taste, and it tastes like salty sake (which, i guess, it is)....its so lightly flavored that i almost dont see the point in using it...i cant see it adding the complexity or depth of flavor that you get when cooking with grape wines

my question is how else can i use this stuff? did i make a mistake by getting the cheap, "cooking" rice wine with salt added, instead of a moderately priced bottle of sake? does it add something to the dish other than flavor that i may be misunderstanding?

do i need to resort to salty sake bombs? :biggrin:

EDIT - Just laughed when i looked at my username and realized that my first post was about a noodle dish....total coincidence


Edited by TheNoodleIncident (log)

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It sounds to me like you got a cooking wine instead of a drinking wine like sake. I suppose you could use it in place of salt for t times until you use it up. If it has alcohol, it isn't a total loss even though you say it does not have much flavor itself. Alcohol is a solvent for food flavors that other solvents, (water and oil) don't bring out. Alcohol is a great flavor enhancer for tomatoes. Vodka sauce does not have much flavor in the alcohol but brings out the alcohol solvent flavors of tomatoes. You could use it for things like that.

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it is definitely cooking wine....i normally never buy the stuff (the ol' "only cook with what you would drink" rule), but for some reason i didnt think about it this time

thats a good point about alcohol soluble flavors - thanks

i guess ill just use a splash in various applications where i think it might work, and see which ones are winners

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Ya, you got the cheap stuff. Esp if it tastes like sake! It really should taste like sherry, with some funk to it. A lot of times the drinking stuff will come in what looks like ceramic bottles.

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Japanese rice wine is sake. I don't know what Chinese rice wine is called but dry sherry is often mentioned as a substitute in 'Asian' style recipes.

You could use what you got to deglaze your pan, then cook it down to a syrup and use other ingredients to make a sauce.


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)

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I think any chinese wine you get in a normal grocery (that is to say, a non-lquor store) is going to have salt added - I always assumed this was due more to liquor laws than to people actually wanting the salt.

I get my shaoxing wine at liquor stores in chinatown, they usually have a few options, and always something in the $5 or $6 range.


Edited by davidkeay (log)

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Been there, done that!

My solution.

Mix half and half with an unpasteurized vinegar and add a tablespoon or so of sugar.

Cover the top with a piece of cloth held in place with a rubber band - you want the air to get at it.

Place in a dark cupboard or at least away from the light.

Wait six weeks and taste it.

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If andiesenji's solution works out, might I suggest making drunken chicken?

Very simple:

Poach a whole chicken in water with ginger and scallions. Hack into pieces with a cleaver, then marinate overnight in rice wine. Serve as a cold appetizer, or with rice for a light dinner.

Also great in stir-fries and with red-cooked dishes, like pork with chestnuts.

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Definitely buy drinking quality Shaoxing wine - the salty cooking wine is adulterated so that it can be sold without a liquor license under US law. It is never sold this way in China or most other places. As others have said, it should smell reminiscent of a sherry, although sherry has a different flavor and, in my opinion, does not make a great substitute.

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Definitely buy drinking quality Shaoxing wine - the salty cooking wine is adulterated so that it can be sold without a liquor license under US law. It is never sold this way in China or most other places. As others have said, it should smell reminiscent of a sherry, although sherry has a different flavor and, in my opinion, does not make a great substitute.

lol, although dry sherry might be a better substitute than the 2$ salted stuff which doesn't have much flavor in any case.

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Yeah, if you can't get decent Shaoxing (I have to go down to MA to get it, unfortunately), a dry sherry is a decent substitute.

The salted stuff can be pretty nasty.

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