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Cooking with Sake

Does it matter how much you spend or which type you choose?

Sake, the Japanese brew made from fermented polished rice, is generally faintly sweet, but, like wine or beer, it can vary significantly in aroma and flavor. When making recipes such as teriyaki sauce or Japanese Fried Chicken Thighs (Karaage), does it matter how much you spend or which type you use? To find out, we tasted five styles of sake that ranged in price from $9 to $47 per 750-milliliter bottle. From there, we selected two (priced at $9 and $17) with very different flavor profiles, figuring that if both worked in recipes, everything in between would, too. We prepared karaage and teriyaki sauce with each sake and found that both worked equally well in our recipes. So don't hesitate to reach for a cheap sake for cooking. We also found that vermouth, which has a similar acidity and alcohol content, made a decent substitute.

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