Here is everything you need to know about mirin, what it is and how this particular condiment with a sweet and sour flavor is used in the kitchen.
Japanese mirin is one of the main ingredients of Asian cuisine. It is mainly used as a condiment and its success is determined by its particular flavor, which goes well with a variety of dishes. At first glance it may seem very similar to sake, also due to their similar composition, however the differences are substantial. Their flavor and their use in the kitchen are not entirely the same and we will explain why. To fully understand the secrets of oriental gastronomic culture, let’s try to understand what mirin is and how it is used.
Features of mirin: what it is and how to use it
Mirin is a Japanese drink mainly used as a condiment. It is characterized by its amber color and very sweet taste. Indeed, in its composition there is a higher concentration of sugars compared to sake; the alcohol content between the two also differs, because mirin is less alcoholic.
It is characterized by a long history, which begins in the Sengoku period, between 1400 and 1600. Initially, it was consumed only as a drink; in the following centuries, they also began to use it in gastronomic preparations, in particular in the preparation of soba sauce or for marinating eel. Only in the 1950s were the taxes imposed on this ingredient lowered, favoring its greater diffusion also abroad.
To date, there are three types of mirin on the market. The original one is known as Hon Mirin, with an alcohol content of about 14%; then, there is it Shio Mirinwith the degree of 1.5% and with a more delicate flavor, and lo Shin Mirinwith an even more delicate taste and an alcohol content of less than 1%.
How to use mirin in the kitchen
The main use of mirin in cooking is for marinades and sauces. This is the main ingredient in the preparation of the well-known teriyaki or ponzu sauce; they are used to give flavor to dishes based on fish, grilled meat or roasted eel. This Japanese drink is great for adding flavor to broths and soups, like a savory miso soup. It’s also used to saute noodles, flavor rice, or add a bold twist to desserts, especially fruit-based ones.
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