Chinese Rice Wine
Rice wine is a rich-flavoured liquid made from fermented glutinous rice. Aged for ten years or more, rice wine is used both in drinking and cooking (the rice wine used for cooking has a lower alcohol content). Unlike European wine, which is made by fermentation of naturally occurring sugars in sweet grapes, rice wine is made from the fermentation of rice starch that has been converted to sugars. The process is somewhat similar to the mashing process used in beer and whiskey production. Rice wine is available in Asian specialty stores or sections in supermarkets but avoid buying the ones with added salt if possible.
While the flavour is not the same – a dry white wine or sherry can be used as a substitute for Chinese rice wine in marinades & sauces BUT, it is quite inexpensive & store it in your pantry after opening for about a year.
We prefer the Shaoxing brand of rice wine, if you can find it, buy it, it is very good.