Baijiu, a throat-burning whiskey used in Chinese cured meats, isn’t well-known in the United States, but it’s the world’s best-selling liquor in China, where it’s ubiquitous.
Chinese cuisine relies heavily on Baijiu because of its peculiar flavor and aroma, making it an essential element in many cuisines and cured meats.
Various “fragrances,” or aromas/flavor profiles, are used by specialists to classify distinct types and varieties. Aromas range from heavy to light to sauce and rice fragrances. In addition to the four primary categories of fragrance, there are several subcategories. Soy sauce or fermented soybean paste flavors can be found in “sauce fragrance” scents such as those of the “sauce fragrance” type.
Whole grain liquor known as “baijiu” (meaning “white liquor”) originates in China. Sorghum is the most common ingredient, but peas, rice, barley, wheat, and millet can also be used. Alcohol percentage ranges from 40 to 60 percent, making it colorless and transparent. (It’s hot and usually served in little cups!)
Aside from sorghum, rice, and wheat, the primary ingredients of this Baijiu Xinghua Cun Fen Chiew are peas and wheat.
BAIJIU USED IN COOKING
Baijiu is commonly drunk as a beverage but can also be used in the kitchen as a cooking ingredient. To preserve meats, like our Chinese Cured Pork Belly, we employ this method.
A crucial aspect of the preservation process is the usage of salted duck eggs, which can be consumed plain or in desserts like mooncakes and zongzi.
As a seasoning for sautéed green vegetables, the Baijiu imparts a strong and distinct flavor to the delicate leafy greens. Our recipe for eatable clover serves as an excellent illustration of this type of use.
Purchasing and Keeping
You can get Baijiu from liquor outlets that carry a wide selection. To find Chinese liquor, look for establishments that sell a wide range of international goods.
The Chinese government served President Nixon Mao Tai during his first visit to China, and it was then introduced to the West and the United States as a sort of Baijiu. As a result, the Chinese government began serving it to visiting dignitaries.
Mao Tai can cost as much as $300 for each bottle. There are also lower-priced counterfeit products that are very similar to the originals in terms of flavor. Er Guo Tou () is the most popular dish in Beijing, where we lived from 2012 to 2014. It costs roughly $15 a bottle, making it a good value. This is usually what we purchase when it is available. There are so many options in China that it’s hard to keep up!
ALTERNATIVES TO BAIJIU
A decent substitute for Baijiu while curing meats is whiskey. It adds a distinct flavor to the drink.