What Exactly Is Cooking Sake and Purpose of Cooking Sake

What Is Cooking Sake?

Cooking sake is a type of sake processed to be used for cooking by adding salt and vinegar.

Because it has been treated so that it cannot be drunk, some cooking sake are not subject to taxation due to the liquor tax law.

That’s why some cooking sake is inexpensive, and you can buy them even at shops that cannot handle alcohol.

Is Cooking Sake the Same as Sake?

Cooking sake can be said to be a type of sake (Japanese rice wine), at the same time, it’s a seasoning that contains alcohol.
Besides alcohol, it contains salt, vinegar, and a lot of umami ingredients to make the food delicious. So, compared to sake for drinking, it has more sourness and miscellaneous taste.

Click here to see more about the difference.
What’s the Difference Between Cooking Sake and Regular Sake?

What Are the Benefits of Using Sake in Cooking?

Here are 4 main reasons why you should use sake in cooking!

Takes away the smell of ingredients such as meet and fish

Alcohol contained in sake can remove the smell of meet and fish.

You can sprinkle sake directly on the ingredients. Or, you can also marinate the ingredients in the mixture of sake and other seasonings in order to prevent odors.

Additionally, alcohol will be removed by heating, but at that time the odor will also be removed along with the alcohol.

Soften the ingredients

Alcohol contained in sake works on the material to absorb the water, and make sure that the material does not allow moisture to escape. In this way, sake can soften the ingredients when cooking.

Adds koku (richness) and umami (delicious taste)

Glucose and sucrose contained in sake produce an elegant sweetness that sugar cannot produce. Umami ingredients such as amino acids and glutamic acid have the effect of adding umami and flavor to dishes.

Improves the penetration of taste

Alcohol has good permeability to the material. So, it helps other seasonings to soak into the ingredients too by adding sake especially when making stew dishes.

Can You Use Regular Sake for Cooking?

Yes, you can do that.
No one buys cooking sake and drinks, but many Japanese buy drinkable sake which is relatively inexpensive one to use in cooking.

Regular sake will be better in terms of bringing out the flavor and adding richness to dishes.

Cooking sake is suitable for making dishes that need saltiness, for example, stews and stir-frying dishes. On the other hand, regular sake is suitable for simple seasoned dishes that brings out the full flavor of the ingredients, and dishes that you want to keep salt low.

Since regular sake is usually more expensive than cooking sake, there is a idea of how to use each one of them depending on the case:
・Use cooking sake for preparation using a large amount
・Use regular sake for seasoning

The 6 Best Cooking Sake Substitutes

Click here to see the details about substitutes!

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