If you’re planning on cooking some Chinese dishes at home there may be some ingredients you don’t have on hand. Many dishes require Chinese cooking wine which is required to bring out unique and tangy aromas in the cuisine. Luckily there are plenty of substitutes that will do the trick. In this blog post, we’ll share some of our favourite Australian substitutions for Chinese cooking wine.
Types of Chinese Cooking Wine and Flavours
Chinese cooking wine, or Shuijiu, is a staple that enhances many dishes. It comes in two distinct varieties, which are the clear yellowish Shaoxing and the red-brown coloured Xue Jiu.
The Shaoxing variety is aged for an average of five to twelve years and gives off a fragrant note boasting a subtle sweetness thanks to the light caramel tones. Meanwhile, Xue Jiu contains heavier aromatics with more intense notes of dried fruit due to its aging process which can range from ten to twenty years.
Chinese Cooking Wine Substitutes
We’re going to go through some of our most recommended substitutes here but if you cannot find the particular brand you should be able to find something similar. Since these wines are used for cooking you won’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of money either so keep that in mind.
McWilliam’s Royal Reserve Dry Sherry Apera
If you’re looking for sweet and slightly nutty notes in your Chinese dish, try substituting dry sherry instead of white wine. The subtle sweetness of sherry will add balance to richer sauces and can give delicate fish recipes a bolder flavour. McWilliam’s popular sherry is used for cooking and will give your dishes well-needed refinement.
Hardy’s Stamp of Australia Sauvignon Blanc
On the other hand, simple dry white wine works well as a replacement. It will enhance the savoury qualities of umami ingredients like mushrooms, bacon, and herbs without overshadowing them. You can try most white wines as there as so many on the market but Hardy’s is quite cheap and popular for cooking.
Obento Japanese Cooking Sake
For an even more authentic and Asian twist, try substituting with cooking sake which is a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine. The subtle aromas of sake will help to add depth to the dish and bring out complex flavours that are sure to tantalise your taste buds. Obento’s Cooking Sake has a light yet smooth flavour and can easily replace Chinese white wine.
Amoy Rice Vinegar
Rice vinegar is another great option when substituting for Chinese cooking wine. This type of vinegar is made from fermented rice and has a mild yet tangy flavour that can be used to bring out the natural sweetness of vegetables. Amoy’s Rice Vinegar has a subtle aroma making it ideal as a substitution as it won’t overpower delicate flavours.
Kikkoman Light Soy Sauce
If your dish needs some saltiness, then Light Soy Sauce can be a great addition. It has a balanced flavour and can provide your dish with the perfect amount of flavour. Kikkoman soy sauce is a popular option as it won’t overpower other ingredients and will help to bring out the complexity of flavours in your food.
Chinese Cooking Wine At Woolworths
If you can’t find any of the substitutions above in your local store there are plenty more options available. Woolworths is a great place to start looking, as they have a wide selection of Chinese cooking wines that will work perfectly for your dish.
Pandaroo Ingredients Chinese Cooking Wine
Pandaroo Ingredients is one of the leading online suppliers of Chinese cooking wines in Australia. Their cooking wine is made from natural ingredients in Australia and they are also quite affordable. Their Chinese cooking wine is accessible at most Woolworths stores.
Chinese Cooking Wine At Coles
Coles is another local option for finding Chinese cooking wines. If you have one locally then it’s worth checking out and remember that most products are conveniently available online.
Double Phoenix Chinese Cooking Wine
Double Phoenix Chinese Cooking Wine is a popular option in Australian groceries. The product is imported from China and made with Chinese ingredients. It adds depth and complexity to dishes and is available at most leading supermarkets.
Where To Find Authentic Chinese Cooking Wine
For those looking for some more authentic Chinese cooking wines, you might have to travel a little more out of the way. Luckily Australia has a wide variety of Asian groceries due to their large Chinese population, some of the best areas to look for are in the CBD, Chinatown, and other Asian suburbs. In these shops, you’ll find a selection of wines that were made in China and imported to Australia for your cooking pleasure.
Photo by Orijit Chatterjee on Unsplash