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Black vinegar doesn’t just flavor a dish – it transforms it

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black vinegar doesn't just flavor a dish it transforms

“Black vinegar is black because of a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction,” explains how carbohydrates react with amino acids Su Nan-Wei, Professor in the Department of Agricultural Chemistry at National Taiwan University. “The point is, the main ingredients are made from grain.” Grains give the vinegar a malty base flavor, and the Maillard reaction is responsible for bringing out umami notes.

Black vinegar depends on where, how and by whom it is made.

Chinkiang vinegar is made with sticky rice.

Alex Lau

China is the birthplace of grain-based black vinegar, and the process eventually spread across Asia and took on a life of its own. Generally speaking, There are four major regional types in China: The northern Chinese province of Shanxi is known for vinegar made from sorghum, wheat and barley. The city of Zhenjiang in southern China makes its sticky rice, commonly known as chinkiang vinegar. Sichuan has a black vinegar made from wheat bran, flavored with a hot mixture of spices from Chinese medicine. And finally, Fujian Province in eastern China produces sticky rice vinegar that has a special mushroom added to it that gives the end product a dark red rather than black hue.

Outside of China, Japan and Korea use brown rice as the base starch for their black vinegar. Taiwan’s black vinegar, which starts with glutinous rice, is the most different from the batch as it is more similar to Worcestershire sauce in production. Worcestershire is made by soaking a malt vinegar base with ingredients like molasses, anchovies, garlic, and tamarind extract. Taiwanese black vinegar is similar in that much of its flavor is infused. First, a basic vinegar is made from glutinous rice. “Then we add carrots, onions, vegetables, mushrooms, tomatoes, and so on. It’s soaked for at least a year, ”he says Cindy Cheng, a spokesman for Kong Yen, the largest industrial black vinegar factory in Taiwan. Another major Taiwanese vinegar brand, Wu Yin Vinegar, makes their rice vinegar from Taiwanese glutinous rice and malt. “It’s inoculated with a starter we’ve had for about eight months for over 100 years,” says Kao Chi-ting, Owner of Wu Yin vinegar before it is infused with licorice and caramel.

Taiwanese black vinegar smells simpler, fruity, and cleaner, says Ivy Chen, a cooking instructor in Taipei. “Chinese vinegar is deeper and more flavorful due to the aging process,” with a funky flavor.

Because black vinegar recipes vary widely by country, region, and company, the rule of thumb is that references come from the region the vinegar came from and the dishes the area is known for. “Shanxi vinegar goes well with noodles. Zhenjiang vinegar goes well with salads, ”advises Lin. In Taiwan, vinegar is used sparingly – a drop or two on a ready-made soup. And in China, it’s most commonly used in conjunction with soy sauce. But if all of this is too confusing, you can’t go wrong with a universal dressing made up of equal parts soy, vinegar, and oil.

“Add a small piece of salt, garlic, and sugar. This is a very simple sauce that can be used on salads, pasta, or even as a dipping sauce, ”says Lin.

Black vinegar + watermelon:

Clarissa Wei is an American freelance journalist based in Taiwan.

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The 7 best kitchen offers for early Amazon Prime Day 2021 that Bon Appétit editors want

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the 7 best kitchen offers for early amazon prime day

Like Christmas and my mom’s praise, Amazon Prime Day only comes once a year. While it doesn’t technically start until Monday, we’ve rounded up the best early Amazon Prime Day 2021 deals to buy right now. If you’ve been waiting for a Mondo sale to buy this Le Creuset or replace your age-old kitchen tongs, get them early before the hordes sink (these lightning deals go faster than Jeff Bezos’ space rocket). Amazon Prime Day begins June 21st at midnight PST and lasts for 48 hours. So if you’re not a Prime member, log in here and check back on Monday as we continue to reveal the best kitchen deals.

In the eternal words of Sisqo, “pliers pliers pliers”, so to speak. Save 55% on this 9-inch set (Test Kitchen Director Chris Morocco’s preferred plier length) and 12-inch silicone-tipped pliers. This is a lightning deal so act fast!

Silicone and stainless steel pliers – pack of 2

Perhaps the best early Amazon Prime Day 2021 deal of them all is this 3.5 quart Le Creuset sauté pan, now 40% off. Not quite as deep as Le Creuset’s iconic Dutch Oven, the sauté pan has a wide base ideal for browning and braising, and its sloping sides allow you to really get into corners with a whisk or spoon.

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Le Creuset sauté pan in enamelled cast iron (3.5 qt.)

In 2017, we boldly claimed that a fish spatula was the only spatula you need, and we stand by it. Tender enough for top pancakes but sturdy enough to turn a burger, a fish spatula is a versatile kitchen tool that every amateur cook needs. Save over 50% on this Amazon Prime Day.

Stainless steel fish spatula

With this 24-piece glass food storage set (now 40% off) you are well on the way to getting single-use plastics out of your kitchen.

Bayco 24-Piece Glass Storage Food Containers

Did the lack of a springform pan stop you from making a Basque roasted cheesecake? Your time is now.

9 inch spring pan cake pan

Save this beautiful stainless steel kettle for my princesses.

Electric kettle with gooseneck made of stainless steel

If, like digital editor-in-chief Amanda Shapiro, you’re a virgin who loves a good system, stock up on these wire storage baskets, currently 32% off.

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Wire Storage Baskets – Pack of 4

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A dish that your guests will love … and a backup just in case

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a dish that your guests will love ... and a

Welcome to You’ve Got Time for This, a column where Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Dawn Davis highlights recipes from our archives that are delicious, easily accessible, and work every time.

I’m here to rave about a dish from the BA archives that pays off with minimal fuss, but first let me tell you about one dinner that the party went wrong.

When my friend Greg graduated from law school, it was time for a party. I reached out to Second Helpings at Union Square Cafe because the main courses are consistently tasty and foolproof, if admittedly a bit complicated. I chose the Indian bouillabaisse, monkfish and shellfish, cooked in a fragrant broth with accents of cardamom, coriander seeds and fenugreek flowered in mustard oil. As a starter, I served a hearty lentil and celery salad that I thought could serve as a main course should a dinner guest be allergic to shellfish. What could go wrong?

Much. One of Greg’s friends, let’s call her Madeleine, was not only allergic to shellfish but also to lentils. As for dinner parties, it’s been an embarrassing bankruptcy. I didn’t know how to turn at the time, so it was up to Madeleine to save the day. She was always polite and pretended to have had a late lunch. I could hear her stomach growling with hunger.

Since that day I’ve always been asking if anyone has allergies and I always have a backup plan that I had to use this weekend.

I had a dinner party on Friday and chose another shellfish recipe: Chris Morocco’s chile lime clams with tomato and grilled bread. This dish is over the top delicious and is refined with restaurant-grade butter and sambal oelek, a chilli paste that adds flavor, but in this case not much spiciness. With autumn hues, this dish is gorgeous, especially with a touch of red onion (which I used in addition to the shallots called for in the recipe) and brightly colored cherry tomatoes. The pan goes straight to the direct heat of a grill, although you can use your stovetop instead. Everyone loved it so much that we tried hard to get that little bit of leftover in the pan. (If you like mussels, I highly recommend.)

I did notice, however, that a friend was eating around the clams and opted for the chickpeas, jam, caramelized onions, and grilled bread instead. I had asked before; She wasn’t allergic to shellfish. So what was the problem? Coriander, with which the dish is ready.

Instead of panicking, I turned to my choice this time: Fridge-Dive Pesto Pasta. It’s great for an impromptu Plan B because, as the name suggests, you can make it with “any leftover hardy greens, lettuce, or herb that you don’t know what to do with.” I had fresh arugula and basil and some wilted escarole and parsley on hand, although I suspect it hardly matters because it’s the sesame seeds I toasted in the pan while the greens cook and the ricotta salad that makes it memorable. (Ricotta may not be a pantry, but it takes a while, good enough to have on hand.) Twenty minutes later the pasta was ready and this time no one went hungry. So if a surprising allergy or aversion shows up, don’t panic – open another bottle of wine and bring your water to a boil.

Get the Recipes:

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When it’s too hot to cook, I turn to my Royal Gourmet Flat Top Grill

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when it's too hot to cook, i turn to my

This is highly recommended, a column that explores what people in the food industry are obsessed with eating, drinking, and buying right now.

Like yesterday and the day before yesterday, it is almost 100 degrees in Austin, so hot that I feel like a melting figure in a Dali painting. Should I heat my pan or my oven? Prepare an ambitious recipe? Give me a call in November when autumn does begin in Texas and my mood can no longer be described as “sweating”. That’s why my Royal Gourmet Flat-Top Grill was my savior this summer. Dinner is ready in the time it takes to chop a broccoli, and the only tools for cleaning are a bottle of water and a spatula. It perfectly delivers a Hong Kong street vendor’s wok-Hei and, more importantly, it brings me back to my ultimate childhood comfort food: food court take-out from Sarku Japan, a teppanyaki chain that sells almost exclusively in malls all of America can be found.

In the sprawling suburbs of Cypress, Texas, northwest of Houston, summers are best described by their duality – the Gulf Coast heat (demonstrated by the Texan Neapolitan, sunburned on top, pale in the middle, with a distinctive Old Navy flip-flop -Tan on the bottom) and the coolness of the mall where it’s always 65 degrees. The mall raised me when I was five years old walking around permanently sticky playgrounds up to my thirteenth year doing Forever 21. It’s in my DNA – even my prom was at the mall. And while some kids grew up with PB&J or Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Readys, I grew up on Sarku Japan. Every time I visited Willowbrook Mall, my mom and I shared a $ 5.69 styrofoam box of teriyaki chicken and beef, perfectly caramelized and piled high on rice and steamed vegetables. For an additional $ 1.79, we ventured to double our meat, but only after taking a free sample.

Now at home, the Royal Gourmet Grill challenges me to escape the rigidity of daily menu planning. Armed with a squirt bottle and a spatula, I reef. Whether it’s a smash burger, tacos al pastor or my favorite diner breakfast, the flat top makes it easy for me to just pop up without the pressure of perfection. No timers, no thermometers, just me and my mise en place are flowing. When the neighbors curiously perk up their heads to smell my teppanyaki, it’s time to toss the glaze on the meat, the sweet and savory varnish balanced by the pleasant familiarity of cabbage and rice .

Now that I’ve left my hometown, the nearest Sarku Japan is about a 30-minute drive away, in an unfamiliar mall that someone else raised but still has the best summer air conditioning this side of the Colorado River. A trip to the mall feels a little sad now. Some things, like low-rise jeans, are better left in the past. But thanks to my Royal Gourmet Grill, I can eat food court teppanyaki at any time. In a way, cooking Sarku Japan at home hits the same note as cooking a Cantonese recipe from my mother. It feels like a return to my legacy, a culture shaped by frappuccinos, soft pretzels and the Zumiez background music. Mall Food Court Teppanyaki is a part of me, and my backyard plancha is my homecoming.

Royal Gourmet flat grill

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