For many who are not used to this Japanese drink, mirin tastes disgustingly salty-sweet drink. However, once you add to stew or make the teriyaki sauce, it matters a lot. Mirin is just sweet rice wine applicable to Japanese recipes.
Yes, you can drink mirin as it contains only 14% alcohol and has the same effect as any similar wine. Mirin with 1 to 1.5% is also available, to get the same drunk effect, one has to drink a few glasses. Mirin also contains 40 to 50% sugar, which makes it very sweet. You can also substitute mirin by mixing sugar and rice wine.
What is Mirin?
Mirin is a wine made of rice. In Japanese cuisine, mirin serves as an important seasoning to give a special flavor. The alcohol and the high sweetness make mirin a condiment for creating a special taste. Mirin is comparable to sake, another Japanese wine containing 18-20% alcohol. The syrupy consistency of mirin acts as a major ingredient in making Japanese glazes, for instance, the teriyaki sauce.
In Japanese, the real mirin is called “hon-mirin”. Mirin is a preparation of steamed glutinous rice, fermented in rice liquor made by distillation. The enzymes in rice decompose the various constituents such as starch, sugar, organic, amino acids, and distinct flavor to create this special drink mirin. The fermentation process takes a few months to several years making it an alcoholic drink. The longer the aging, the darker the color and more intense is the flavor of the mirin.
Types of Mirin
You find that there are two kinds of mirin.
Hon-mirin: This mirin is wine, made from a mixture of ‘shochu’ or distilled alcohol and two kinds of glutinous rice. The popular brand names of such Japanese mirin are Mitsukan and Takara.
Mirin-fu chomiryo is another mirin-type condiment that has a flavor similar to mirin. It is less expensive and labeled in Japanese aji-mirin meaning ‘tastes like mirin”. This Mirin-fu chomiryo has only 1percent alcohol and an equally exorbitant amount of sugar.
The Taste of Mirin
Mirin belongs to the umami group of food in taste. The taste of mirin is tangy and sweet. Mirin is thick in consistency with wine flavor and almost like sake.
Can You Substitute Mirin?
The basic ingredients of mirin are alcohol and sweetness. Therefore, you can substitute those two substances, with any other ingredients to produce a similar taste in your dish.
- The best substitute is to make a mixture of sake with honey and maple syrup/sugar in the ratio of 5 to 1. Cook this mixture to reduce it to half and use it as mirin.
- If you have rice wine vinegar add half a teaspoon of vinegar to a tablespoon of sugar to replace the mirin in your recipe.
- Mixing sugar and sake at the ratio of 1 to 3 can be a substitute for mirin. The mixture comprises 1 tablespoon of drinking sake and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
- A halal substitute for those who do not drink wine, Honteri mirin is a superb source as it does not contain alcohol.
- Another substitute for mirin is sugar and sake at the ratio of 1 to 3. To 1 tablespoon of sake add t teaspoon of powdered sugar to make the substitute.
Although, recipes that require mirin to taste the best, the above substitutes are a good way of tasting the food flavored with mirin-like drinks.
How to Store Mirin?
The shelf life of mirin is quite stable. However, the mirin bottles should be away from direct light. To avoid spoilage, it is best to refrigerate mirin especially if the weather is hot and humid and if you have already opened the bottle. The true mirin contains alcohol and stays longer than the other types.
1. Salmon Teriyaki
Salmon teriyaki is a very popular Japanese dish cooked with mirin. With a little time, this salmon teriyaki will fill your appetite with a fat-free dish.
½ cup of sake
¼ cup of mirin
¼ cup of soy sauce
1tbsp of vegetable oil, or as required
4 piece of 6-ounce fillet of boneless salmon with skin, and 1” in thickness
- Combine the sake, mirin, and soy sauce in a bowl. This the teriyaki sauce.
- Pour 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a big enough skillet and heat at medium-high temperature. Lightly season the salmon fish skillet with kosher salt.
- Cook the skillet in batches with the skin side up and adding oil if necessary. Turn the salmon pieces over on the other side until it takes a brown color. Remove to a platter or serving dish. This might take 8 to10 minutes.
- Clean off all oil from the skillet. Add the teriyaki sauce and boil with medium heat. Let the sauce reduce to two-thirds. It will about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the fried salmon with the skin side upward. With a spoon, take some of the sauce and place it on top of the salmon until it is cooked. Within a few minutes, you will find the sauce become syrupy.
- Place the salmon with the syrup on a platter. Serve with salad, rice, or noodles.
2. Kombu Chicken Soup with Carrots and Mushrooms
10 ounces of mature trimmed spinach
3 pieces of dried kombu (6×4-inch)
6 cups of homemade chicken stock (low-sodium)
1 cup of bonito flakes
2 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts, cut into half and thinly sliced
1 peeled medium carrot, cut into two-inch pieces
4 ounces stemmed, sliced shiitake mushrooms
Sesame seed-Toasted for topping
- Over medium heat about one-fourth cup water. When it steams, add the spinach in batches and let it cook until it wilts. Remove to a bowl-shaped sieve and let it cool. Chop coarsely.
- Simmer kombu, a seaweed, under low heat in a saucepan. Remove from the stove and let it stay for 10 minutes. Strain the blend into a big sized bowl.
- Pour the broth into a clean saucepan. Now add soy sauce, mirin, and salt. Let it simmer; add chicken, mushroom, and carrots. Let all the ingredients become tender.
- Sprinkle the spinach and mix with the soup with a wooden spoon.
- Sprinkle with sesame seed. The Kombu Chicken Soup is ready to serve.
Also Read: Best Garlic Press for Home Use
The Japanese mirin is a perfect source of various kinds of sauces needed for making many Japanese cuisines. In this write-up, we let you all the general information on mirin and its uses. Mirin is a condiment of food, giving the meat, fish, vegetable a special distinct taste. Even the substitutes of mirin play a significant role in creating a similar taste as you would, from mirin added food.
For now, you can drink mirin with no harm if you have a habit of taking alcoholic beverages.