Vinegars in India have existed since the Vedic times. Colloquially called as Sirka in our country, they are sharp and pungent. The indigenous ones work as souring agents by imparting that characteristic tang to some classic dishes.
Vinegars imply soured wine, but it can be made by fermenting any alcohol (ethanol) with acetic bacteria which are responsible for the distinct sour taste.
There's toddy vinegar made from the sap of the ice apple tree, ubiquitous to the kitchens of the East Indians of Bombay. Then there's the esteemed Kolah vinegar made from sugarcane distinct to the Parsi community. Hell breaks loose if one runs out of it, say our Parsi friends. It's hard to imagine a Goan vindaloo without coconut vinegar that is prepared with the sap collected from the inflorescence of coconut trees. And in Coorg, a special vinegar made in the homes of the local community takes the cult pandi (pork) curry a few notches up. This tart dark Kachampuli vinegar is made from the local 'panapuli' fruit that belongs to the Garcinia (kokum) family. More recently, Kombucha Vinegars from Auroville flavoured with tarragon or fennel are gaining popularity too.
At Native Tongue, we love using naturally brewed local vinegars that add a nuanced depth of tartness to our products. While coconut vinegar balances our fiery XO sauce featuring Goan chorizo, we only trust sugarcane vinegar to give our Honey Mustard that extra kick. And have we told you about how Kachampuli vinegar that we directly source the producers in Coorg? It renders delicious fruity notes to our Caramelised Onion & Fig Relish? You ought to try it for yourself.