Real Mirin - The very special flavor

What is mirin

Mirin is made from distilled alcohol, koji (a mushroom culture) and rice and is one of the most important food spices in Japan. It's sweet and syrupy and contains around 13-14% alcohol, which mostly evaporates during cooking. Mirin has a fine, natural sweetness and is a very versatile condiment due to its balanced aroma. It is used to sweeten dishes such as nimono (cooked dishes), for marinating and glazing, and for making teriyaki sauce. Along with soy sauce, miso, sake and dashi, it is one of the five most important condiments in traditional Japanese cuisine.

High quality mirin has a fine and complex sweetness and a lot of umami taste. Also suitable as a sweet liqueur to drink.

Real mirin and false mirin

Unfortunately, the term and manufacturing method of Mirin are not protected abroad. "Fake" Mirin is also sold under the name "Mirin". Even in Japan, few consumers know the exact difference. When buying, you should pay close attention to the ingredients (only sweet rice, koji rice and shochu (rice distillate)). In the traditional method, 1 liter of mirin is made from 1 kg of rice. In industrial production, the proportion of rice is 2.5 to 4 times less; In the production of “Mirinart wort”, no rice is required at all (glucose is used instead of rice).

Real mirin according to the traditional method (Honkaku-Mirin)

consists of sweet rice, rice koji, real kome shochu (rice distillate) and is fermented and matured for over 1 year. The alcohol content is around 14%. The extract is around 50%. Real mirin tastes very round and has a complex sweetness. Because of the concentrated umami taste, the real mirin is very economical.

Mirin from industrial production (usually referred to as Hon-Mirin)

This mirin is characterized by the rationalization of rice preparation and the use of glucose and industrially produced alcohol instead of Kome-Shochu. The industrial method has been widespread since the post-war period. Shorter fermentation or maturation time of 40 to 60 days. The taste is thinner and the sweetness more penetrating than real mirin.

Fermented wort (salted mirin)

Conventional rice is fermented by koji mushroom and fortified with glucose and alcohol. With the addition of salt, this seasoning is exempt from the Japanese alcohol tax. That is why it is widespread.

Mirin style wort (Mirinfu Tyomiryo)

This seasoning consists of glucose, caramel, glutamate and flavoring substances. The alcohol content is less than 1%. The wort can be produced very cheaply and is also widespread.

Uses and Properties of Real Mirin:

1) natural sweetness (amami)

Fine and multi-layered sweetness from fermentation (9 different types of sugar, mainly grape sugar).

2) Give color, luster (Teri, Tsuya) and shape

The sugar contained in Mirin forms protective films on ingredients and gives shine and grill color. The alcohol content tightens the ingredients. Fish stays in shape when cooked.

3) umami

Mirin intensifies the taste of other seasonings (e.g. herbs), which can penetrate deeper into the meat or fish. In addition, Mirin gives the dishes an intense umami taste.

4) Flavor and mask fish odor

Mask unpleasant smells of ingredients and add sweet flavors. Mirin aromas are enhanced by aging and heating.

5) Harmonize

Real Mirin softens salty and sour taste and harmonizes with various ingredients. When used with other fermented condiments such as miso, soy sauce or vinegar, the umami taste is enhanced. Due to its liquid form, Mirin can be easily mixed with other ingredients.

Mirin - basic sauce in Japanese cuisine

Mirin is used with vegetables, fish and meat. It can be used for marinating, cooking and grilling. For marinating, the mirin is often briefly boiled before use in order to evaporate its alcohol content.



Soy sauce









maybe: 0,5 sugar

Soba (Dip)






Soba (Soup)

















5 citrus juice (e.g. Yuzu)

Sesame sauce





1 sesame paste


Sample dishes with mirin:

- Pork with ginger soy sauce
- Beef Tataki with Ponzu
- Cooked green asparagus with sesame sauce
- Swordfish with Tomato Mirin Sauce
- Grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce
- Mirin can also be used for the production of salad dressings, tomato sauce instead of honey and / or sugar to make the taste rounder and tastier!

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