Japanese ingredients for your healthy life

Mirin Products

A range of products

Mirin is a product that can be found throughout the world. It is a product with a few variations and brands and itfs useful to know about the differences between them. Mirin, when used in cooking can create such a positive effect on a dish and the various products and brands available can enhance dishes in their own way. Letfs have a look at these different brands and types of mirin available.


The manufacturing of mirin is carried out in various places in Japan, so there are numerous types of products. The major manufacturers are Takara Shuzou and Kikkoman who is also known for its soy sauce. These two companies also export a lot, so I would expect you to find these brands in Asian food stores throughout the world. These brands are famous, and they have a long history along with trust, so I would recommend them.


It is useful to know upon purchasing them that there are two types of mirin regardless of brand. One is the epure mirinf, and the other is the emirin-flavoured seasoningf. The biggest difference between these two is that one contains alcohol while the other one does not. Because of the Liquor Tax Law, pure mirin is taxed on its alcohol content; therefore, a product that was made without alcohol in order to avoid taxation is the mirin flavoured seasoning. Apart from being taxed, the pure mirin which is categorized as alcohol needs to meet many regulations such as requiring a licence to sell etc, but because it is alcohol, it contains many effective properties as a cooking element. Alcohol holds properties such as preserving the shape of ingredients when cooking or infiltrating the delicious flavour components into the ingredients. The emirin flavoured seasoningf is therefore more cost effective as liquor tax does not apply.


You will likely come across some mirin brands that are labelled epure mirinf and some that are labelled emirin-flavoured seasoningf when you go to purchase mirin from the shops. I would take this as an opportunity to purchase the epure mirinf which tastes better and is used as an authentic mirin. The aromatic flavour it creates when cooking is completely between ones with alcohol and ones without. However, unless you are a real connoisseur, there should not be too big of a difference in the flavour with the emirin-flavoured seasoningf, so this should certainly suffice. Why not buy both of them and take this as an opportunity to enjoy tasting them both.


Interesting facts

Now we know that pure mirin contains alcohol, and there may be some people who may ask the question eIs it OK to use in cooking for children?h. The straight answer is yes, itfs ok. Because mirin is a cooking seasoning, it is used on the premise that it will be heated up (* caution: it cannot be used as a dressing). Therefore, the alcohol will evaporate when you use it for cooking stews etc where you put enough heat through. It is the same with Teriyaki Chicken; the alcohol would have been evaporated by the time the chicken is thoroughly cooked. It is good to remember that this is a cooking seasoning for cuisine that requires some sound heating time. There is a type of Japanese cuisine called eae-monof which is a type of dish where chopped fish or vegetables are dressed with some sauce, and mirin is used for this. When using mirin for this type of cuisine, you need to cook the mirin so that the alcohol is evaporated before you pour it over as a sauce.


Also, just to share some trivial knowledge, sometimes you may find some rough white specks on the lid after you have opened the bottle once and used it regardless of brand. These specks are extracted components that have crystallised. There is about 45% of extra components contained in pure mirin, and once the alcohol and the water evaporate on the mouth of the lid, the remaining extracted components cristallise. These crystallised extracted components will dissolve once some heat has been added. Therefore, if you find some on the lid, just give it a quick wipe, and you donft need to worry even if some remaining bits get mixed into your cooking.


Regarding the unique properties of mirin as a product for all brands. The great thing about mirin is that is really helps to accentuate the others flavours of a dish. Letfs say we had a recipe that asked for some sugar to be added, then this will of course add sweetness to the dish, with mirin however, it will not only add sweetness but also it will help to bring out the other flavours around it. Mirin has a strong and distinct flavour, so itfs certainly recommended to just use a little bit but in this case a little is a lot!


Mirin is very often added to dishes to strike a balance between all the flavours and soften the dish. It is often used in stewed dishes such as chashu which is a kind of soft pork that has been slowly boiled for a long period and simmered dishes such as oyakodon, which is a mixture of chicken and egg served on rice. A good example of using mirin effectively is good old teriyaki chicken, teriyaki sauce is made from mixing, soy sauce, sugar and mirin together and the inclusion of mirin in this softens the strong tasting soy sauce sufficiently to create a mild flavour.


I certainly recommend using mirin with seafood and all brands are good for this. Mirin is particularly effective when it is lightly brushed over seafood before grilling. Not only does it improve the taste but it actually helps to reduce any fishy smells that the seafood may have, this makes mirin perfect to add into a marinade. Wherever alcohol is asked for in a recipe, itfs certainly fine to replace it with mirin and depending on the dish it can really make a difference. Regardless of the brand or type used, mirin will works wonders with seafood.


There are various mirin brands and products available to us and they are all very good and can offer something special to our cooking. Give them a try if you havenft already.