What is mirin (味醂)?
Mirin is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine to brings strong umami in the dish.
It is a type of rice wine similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. The sugar is produced naturally during the fermentation process.
So, no sugars are added (unless it is a mirin-like seasoning).
Mirin is used to add sweetness, but it s complex & sophisticated sweetness enriches the umami flavor of the dish.
Mirin also has following features:
- Add shiny/glossy appearance for the dish
- Alcohol removes/masks fishy/gamey smell of meat
- Alcohol hardens the fresh (so, good to cook with fish with soft meat)
Type of mirin
- Hon-mirin (Real mirin)
14% alcohol and is produced by a long maturing process.
- Mirin-like seasoning
<1% alcohol, short production time, sugar, salt and flavor enhancers are added
Secret final touch for clear soup
Add a few drops of mirin or sake in the bowl of clear soup right before it's served. No need to re-heat. Alcohol evaporates right away in a hot soup.
These few drops of mirin enriches the umami flavor of dashi soup.
If you boil Hon-mirin up to half, you will get syrup-like liquid. This can be used as a sweet syrup/sauce for a dessert.