When I was little, we would eat homemade dumplings with sweet vinegar. This was commonplace in Northeast China. It was so addictive that I would dip all the dumpling skin in the savory sauce. Although I can’t find the same type of vinegar here in the US, I’ve managed to make my own version that tastes exactly like it.
It’s best to use freshly peeled garlic for this recipe. So first, here are some tricks to peeling garlic without having the skin gets stuck all over your hands.
Break the garlic clove into individual garlic pieces, peeling off the rougher, easier-to-peel skin. Then simply snap the garlic in the middle, and the skin on both ends will fall off like magic.
Again, break the garlic clove into individual garlic pieces. Then using the flat side of your cleaver or knife, smack the garlic on a cutting board. The hard-to-peel skin will flake off easier.
Using two same-sized metal or wooden bowls, put the garlic cloves inside the bowls. Make sure there’s no space outside the rims of the bowls. Shake the bowls (like you would do to salad) vigorously. The garlic skin should peel off from the force of the shaking.
Personally, my favorite is trick 1, because I can do it on top of the garbage bin, which saves some time scraping the skin off the board afterwards. But of course you can try all three methods to see which one works best for you.
Now we’re ready for the recipe.
- 1 cup freshly peeled garlic
- 1 medium mason jar
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1/2 cup rock sugar (or brown sugar)
1. Marinate the garlic in salt water for at least a day.
2. Pour out the salt water but don’t rinse the garlic.
3. In a saucepan, bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil.
4. Wait until the mixture has cooled before pouring it into the mason jar with the garlic. The garlic should be completely covered with the mixture. If there is not enough liquid, pour in some water.
5. Marinate in a cool environment or in the fridge for 2 weeks. The garlic is ready to eat when the skin turns brown.
You can also use the vinegar as a salad dressing or in stirfry. It also tastes amazing with fish and chips.