Do I need Mirin?
When I lived in Japan, I used mirin and never used mirin-like seasoning, without understanding anything about it.
However, once you go abroad, it’s not so easy. Mirin contains alcohol, so in countries where liquor tax is high, it is a very expensive product, or not available at all.
I brought mirin with me from Japan, but of course it runs out quickly. It is not possible to order mirin from Japan every time.
By the way, I think brown sugar is the best substitute for mirin. Here’s why.
What is Mirin?
Mirin is an alcohol. It contains about 14% alcohol by volume and 40-50% sugar.
In the classification of alcoholic beverages, mirin is classified as a mixed liquor, which is different from either brewed liquor or distilled liquor.
Mixed liquors are brewed liquors or distilled liquors to which flavors are added. Mirin is a mixed liquor made from brewed liquor.
What is the role of Mirin?
Mirin has 4 roles in flavoring.
・To remove odor
・To add flavor
・To add sweetness
・To add umami
In addition, mirin is used to make dishes shiny, to prevent them from falling apart, and to make it easier for flavors to penetrate. However, since there are only a limited number of dishes in which mirin is effective, we will focus on seasoning.
Mirin is made up of about 14% alcohol. When the alcohol evaporates, it also removes odor, similar to cooking sake.
This function is only for hon mirin, which contains alcohol, and cannot be expected from mirin-like seasonings, which contain almost no alcohol.
Mirin has a unique flavor. Not only does it add flavor to food, and it can also be used to cover the odor of food with its flavor.
40-50% of mirin is sugar. Adding mirin will add sweetness.
Adding Umami Taste
Add flavor, sweetness, and umami
There are only a limited number of dishes that require to remove odor. So, let’s think of mirin’s role as “adding flavor, sweetness, and umami”.
What Seasoning Add Sweetness and Flavor?
And mirin is categorized as a “seasoning that adds flavor and flavor”.
So, you can find substitutes for mirin in this category of “seasonings that add taste and flavor”.