5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary
Mirin and Soy Sauce. That is all you really need for authentic Japanese cooking. And you need it everywhere. Those two liquids are the foundation for almost all recipes, and are used in some quantity in every dish. I do a considerable amount of Japanese cooking, and running out of mirin sends me into panic mode and heading out to the store.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that “teriyaki sauce” has anything with Japanese cuisine. Purely an American invention, true teriyaki cooking is a combination of mirin and soy sauce, based on the meat or vegetables which are then slowly cooked, rotating sides until they become a delicious brown sticky mess. It is sooo much better than the fast food restaurants try to pass off as “Japanese teriyaki”.
When it comes to brands, it is hard to go wrong with Kikkoman. For both mirin and soy sauce, they put out a consistently good product that you can count on to enhance your cooking. There are probably more refined and expensive brands out there, but Kikkoman does me just fine, as it does for the millions of Japanese households where it sees daily use.
As a sweetened wine, mirin adds flavor as well as nutrients to a dish, and can even be used as a sugar substitute in some recipes for those trying to escape from refined white sugar. Check out Japanese Foods That Heal for an in-depth discussion on mirin’s health benefits and uses.