Common name: sirka

Vinegar is used in Goan and Parsi cuisines to impart a sour flavour to the food. Tamarind, kokum, lemon, or even a tart yoghurt are used in different recipes for that sour taste common in Indian and most Asian cuisines. We use common brown vinegar in most of our cooking. White wine vinegar is good for making pickles and chutneys. Red wine vinegar, or even sherry vinegar, can lift a vindalu.

Vinegar, as in wine vinegar, was probably introduced by the Portuguese, but there are some historical references to other forms of vinegar. Because vinegar is made by fermenting ethanol to make acetic acid, any alcoholic liquid could be made into vinegar. For cultural reasons, there are not a lot of alcoholic liquids in India.

India produces interesting and exotic vinegars. The complex, barrel matured sugar-cane vinegar from E F Kolah and Sons has been in production in Mumbai since the late 19th century. It is exported, but you would be very lucky to find any in Australia. FabIndia export their products more widely, and offer several coconut water vinegars in their range of organic foods. These vinegars have a most distinctive taste.

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