Cooking sake is a fundamental ingredient in Japanese culinary culture, used for its unique flavour and aroma. It is a type of rice wine that contains added salt to stop it being used for drinking, originally for tax purposes in Japan.
Made from fermented rice, cooking sake contains lower alcohol content compared to regular sake, typically around 14%. It also tends to be sharper than drinking sake, so is usually added earlier in the cooking process to allow the alcohol to mellow through the dish.
Cooking sake serves various purposes in the kitchen.
As well as adding flavour, it also tenderises meat. It is frequently used in dishes like teriyaki, sukiyaki, and tempura batter, contributing a subtle sweetness and depth of flavour.