Updated: November 06, 2018
0 Bookmark

Mirin (みりん) : The Essential Japanese Sweet Sake Condiment

Mirin is one of the few essential Japanese condiments you have to know about! Here's an article on its origin, the types of mirin and how to use it. Recipes are included!

Feel free to follow favy!

Mirin

pixta_28449710_S
Mirin is a kind of Japanese condiment that you absolutely cannot do without if you are exploring Japanese cuisine. It is a substance that is close to sake, but the sugar content is higher and the consistency is denser. It's sometimes referred to as "mirin sauce" but it is not habitually used as just a sauce, rather, it is one of the basic ingredients used for making Japanese style sauces such as the famous teriyaki one.

History

pixta_27797020_S
There are a couple of theories as to where mirin originates. According to a popular theory, it would have been brought from China during the Senkoku Era (the warring period of Japan from 1467-1568). During the later Edo Era, it's popularity spread and it started being drunk as is as a refined kind of sake called seishu (清酒).

Nowadays mirin is not drunk that way. The only exception is when it is used as a substance to soak medicinal plant and is consumed as a medicine. By far, it's primary use is as a condiment.

How mirin is made and the types of mirin

The basic way of making mirin is by steaming a kind of glutinous rice called mochi kome (餅米), and then adding some rice yeast called kome koji (米麹). Then shochu (a kind of Japanese spirit) is added. It takes about 60 days for the fermentation process to be complete. There is no sugar added. The sweetness comes entirely from the carbohydrates from the rice that are transformed by the fermentation.

Hon mirin (本みりん): The True Mirin!

https://www.kikkoman.co.jp/products/product/K100505/index.html
Hon mirin by Kikkoman
Hon mirin literally means "true mirin". It has an alcohol content of about 14% so it is subject to the liquor tax and you have to be 20 or over to buy it. Kikkoman has a popular brand of hon mirin that sells for ¥446 for 600 ml. It is made according to the traditional method described above.
There is a wide range of quality in mirin. The company Fukuraijun (福来純) sells a hon mirin for ¥2,635. It's one of the finer quality mirin. It uses a blend of mochi rice and shochu rice. There is definitely a difference between a fine quality mirin and an average one!

Other types of mirin

Mirin fu chomiryo (みりん風調味料)

In order to avoid the liquor tax, makers made some mirin with an alcoholic content of less than 1%. This kind of mirin is called mirin fu (みりん風). It's not technically a real mirin but the taste is pretty close. Because of the very low alcohol content and the sweetness, this type of mirin oxidizes easily and can be contaminated with microorganisms. So once opened it's better to consume rapidly and keep it in a refrigerator. Some have no alcoholic content at all so they can be used in halal cuisine.

Shio mirin (塩みりん)

Another type of mirin with an alcoholic content of about 1,5% is the shio mirin. This one has salt added to it and with its low alcoholic content, it is still not subject to the liquor tax.

How to use mirin

There are so many recipes you can do with mirin. If you basically mix soy sauce and mirin, you will get a Japanese flavor.
pixta_15105832_S
The dish shown above is a mackerel fish prepared himono (干物) style using mirin. Himono means that it has been sun-dried with some mirin sprayed on it. You can buy these at store in Japan and you simply have to grill them or heat them up in a frying pan and they taste really exquisite! The savory flavor is quite strong.
retina_shutterstock_740552332
Mirin is also used as a basic ingredient for making the soup of various types of Japanese nabe (hot pots). Try for instance this recipe of yosenabe for a great recipe using mirin!
retina_shutterstock_127817138
And of course, there is the famous teriyaki sauce! The alcohol content of the mirin makes the meat extra tender and the sweetness makes the meat caramelizes a little at the end of the cooking process. Teriyaki is so good! It can be used for meat, fish and as a sauce for hamburgers for instance. Try these recipes in the following article if you are interested in cooking teriyaki dishes.

Lastly...

pixta_26704363_S
Mirin is a very versatile condiment, you can add it to all kinds of dishes to make things taste more Japanese! If you know how to use mirin and just a couple of other traditional Japanese condiments, you will be able to make very tasty Japanese meals in no time!
tabikamome
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

Trending Posts

1

Ginza Bairin - Ginza, Tokyo : Heavenly, Traditional Katsudon That You Need To Try!

2

Torisoba Kotobuki - Ikebukuro, Tokyo : When Life Gives You Lemons, Make An Awesome Bowl Of Ramen!

3

You Have To Try Biryani At Spice Box, An Indian Resto in Tokyo!

4

"Rishotan Shosaikan" In Kinshicho, Tokyo: Chewy Rice Noodles In A Succulent, Rich Stew Made With Cubed Pieces Of Meat!

5

Biting Into a Pound of Steak! All the Meat You Can Dream of at Nikubaru Gaburi in Shibuya, Tokyo

More Trending Posts

Recommended For You!

1

Gyukatsu MOTOMURA: Best Gyukatsu (Beef Cutlets) In Tokyo!

favy
2

Enjoy a Cocktail Together with Lunch at Ginza 300BAR NEXT

favy
3

Rock Izakaya Star In Umeda Osaka, If You Wanna Rock & Roll All Night

favy
4

Enjoy An Exquisite Customizable Yakiniku Course In Daikanyama At Seikou-En

favy
5

SAMA in Harajuku, Tokyo, Serves The Much-Talked-About Hokkaido Soup Curry!

favy

Featured Posts

Halal Restaurants In Japan!

Things to do in Japan in all regions!

Exploring Yokocho Alleys: a Guide to the Back Streets!

More Features

Events

Pokémon Donuts At Mister Donuts In Japan!

Nov 16, Fri ~ Dec 31, Mon

Caretta Shiodome Illuminations In Tokyo: Your Next Spot For Your Winter Date!

Nov 15, Thu ~ Feb 14, Thu

Tokyo Midtown's Outer Space-Inspired Christmas Illuminations 2018

Nov 13, Tue ~ Dec 25, Tue

Smart Illumination Yokohama 2018

Oct 31, Wed ~ Dec 31, Mon

Doutor Coffee's 2018 Special Summer Menu In Japan!

Jun 16, Sat ~

Trending Tags