Food - Drink
What Is Mirin And How Do You Cook With It?
Mirin is a type of Japanese rice wine that is often used as a condiment or ingredient in cooking, but centuries ago, it was mainly consumed as a beverage. This sweet, beloved drink soon found its way into food, especially as a replacement for expensive sugar, and today, mirin has more uses in the kitchen than ever.
Mirin vs. Sake
While both mirin and sake are rice wines, they are distilled differently and have different flavors. Mirin is made with two kinds of rice fermented with sweet potato alcohol, resulting in an alcohol content of about 14% ABV, while sake is brewed more like beer, and winds up with at least 15% ABV and a less sweet flavor.
Taste of Mirin
Mirin is an indispensable Japanese pantry staple that adds sweetness to foods, but also enhances the umami of ingredients found in yakitori grilled chicken, teriyaki sauce, sukiyaki, and more. MasterClass notes that mirin's flavor is similar to rice wine vinegar, but with no bitterness or sourness.
Cook with Mirin
Mirin gives meats and sauces an appealing shimmery appearance, and in marinades, it adds umami and a tenderizing effect; it is also a very common addition to sushi rice, dipping sauces, soups, and noodles. However, if you can't find mirin, you can mix three parts sake with one part sugar for a decent substitute.
Different Types
There are three different types of mirin, but only one of these types is "real" mirin: hon or "true" mirin is made using traditional methods and ingredients, while aji mirin is made with alcohol, water, and sweeteners. Mirin fu is made with corn syrup, rice seasoning, vinegar, flavorings, and no alcohol.
Nutrition and Purchase
The alcohol content in most mirin signals that it is not light on calories or sugar, and nutritional values vary between bottles, though mirin and adjacent condiments have zero grams of fat. To buy mirin, look in the international aisle of your supermarket or at an Asian grocery store, or order it online.