Mirin & cooking sake


(みりん, pronounced ‘miline’) Mirin is an essential condiment in Japanese cuisine.

This slightly sweet sauce with a slightly syrupy texture and an amber hue is used in many Japanese recipes. Mirin can also be used to glaze or lacquer your dishes, giving them a shiny appearance and a delicately fruity, sweet flavour. It can also be used in pastries for an original, tasty touch.

There are two main families of mirin:

Traditional Mirin, or Hon Mirin (本みりん, lit. Real mirin): Hon mirin is made by fermenting mochigome glutinous rice and adding shochu, a Japanese liqueur akin to vodka. Originally consumed as a drink, this type of mirin has a characteristic, subtle sweetness.

Non-alcoholic Mirin, or Mirin Fumi (みりん風): This variant is specially designed for those who prefer to avoid alcohol in their cooking. Also known as mirin fu, this type of mirin retains the distinctive sweetness of the sauce without containing alcohol (or very little), also offering an often slightly cheaper option.

Cooking sake

Called ‘ryorishu’(料理酒) in Japanese, cooking sake adds depth by bringing out the umami and adds a touch of Japanese authenticity.

Using cooking sake in Japanese cuisine:

Marinate meat, fish or vegetables before cooking to tenderise them and give them a subtle flavour.

Deglaze frying pans or saucepans to make tasty sauces, such as teriyaki or soy-based sauces.

Add depth to broths and soups, such as ramen or dashi.

Incorporate into simmered dishes such as nikujaga (beef and potato stew) to enrich their flavour.

Use of cooking sake in Western cuisine:

Used as a substitute for white wine in many recipes (try it in tartiflette, fondue or raclette!)

to deglaze frying pans or flavour sauces.

Incorporated into marinades for meat or fish to add a touch of exoticism and complexity.

Used in sauces for dishes such as lemon chicken or grilled salmon.

Added to salad dressings for a touch of Asian flavour.

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