Washoku Wednesday: Mirin

Thinly sliced beef is cooked in a mixture of mirin, soy sauce, and sake to make sukiyaki.

Courtney serves up some dishes with mirin this week. Now I know how to use up the bottle I have in my kitchen!

Mirin is a staple in most Japanese kitchens. It is a light yellow, low-alcohol rice wine that is used to sweeten dishes. Originally it was served as an alcoholic drink (contains approximately 14% alcohol), but it fell out of fashion and soon became a sweetener in Japanese dishes.

Mirin is rarely the highlight ingredient but is a key component in many of the traditional sauces in Japan. Mirin is found in yakitori glaze, basic broth for gyudon (stewed meat over rice), teriyaki sauce, and even miso soup.

Mirin has several varieties available at the stores. Hon mirin, or true mirin, has the highest amount of alcohol. It should be noted that there are factory hon mirin which contains corn syrup and several other ingredients. Another option is aji-mirin, or ‘tastes like mirin,’ which includes salt. It’s a cheaper option and has a low alcohol content.

One final note, miring can be used to remove fishy or gamey taste. However, use it sparingly as mirin itself has a strong taste and can easily overtake the dish.

Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce is one of the easiest sauces in Japan. It’s literally equal parts of mirin, soy sauce, and sake.
¼ c mirin
¼ c soy sauce
¼ c sake
Additions: sugar, garlic, ginger – If desired, to taste

Bring mirin, soy sauce, and sake to a boil. Add sugar, garlic, or ginger if you prefer. Let boil for 1-2 minutes (or longer for a thicker sauce). Let cool.

For a more Americanized version of teriyaki sauce, check out Just One Cookbook’s recipe here.

Other recipes:
Sukiyaki from The Kitchn
One of my favorite winter dishes is sukiyaki and I was shocked to realize how easy it was to prepare the sauce. The hardest part was all the prep involved for vegetables and ingredients to add to it.

Gyudon from The Woks of Life
If you’ve ever had Yoshinoya, you have had gyudon. It’s thinly sliced beef in a sweet soy broth served over rice.

Mirin glazed salmon from Nigella
Easy and delicious! Salmon with soy-mirin sauce is one of my favorites. Pair with steamed rice and a cabbage salad, and dinner is done.

2 thoughts on “Washoku Wednesday: Mirin

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  1. Beautiful photo of the sukiyaki. I have to admit, mirin is one of those ingredients that I tend to just skip out of Japanese recipes when I don’t have any (I tend to just pick up small bottles), but it always seems to give food, sauces especially, a lovely glossy appearance.

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