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Mirin question

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SpikeC

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Can anyone tell me if mirin is available with out salt added? I would like to get some that is not just for cooking and I'll be darned if I can find any reference to it being available anywhere.
 

mhlee

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I think the only way is to check every label. That being said, I don't think most brands have one that is available without salt added. The only ones that might be would be artisanal mirins (seen on Japanese cooking shows); however, I don't recall seeing any artisanal/small batch mirins at the Japanese supermarkets in my area. Even at large Japanese supermarkets, the only ones that I've seen are commercial brands. (I'll have to take a look this weekend to see if there are any artisanal/small batch mirins.)

Nowadays, most mirins that are commercially available have little to no alcohol and are essentially "mirin-style" seasoning liquids. The mirins that are fermented and contain alcohol are generally more expensive (2 to 3 times as much). I'll post again when I get a chance to go by Marukai this weekend and look through the mirin section there.
 

Eamon Burke

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I bought mine from Kroger. Strangely enough, the ones in the specialty shops I went to didn't have it without added salt and/or msg.

I should add that I got it on the aisle with "ethnic foods". Don't ask the employees, they don't even know what corn starch is.
 

bieniek

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Kikkoman produces it tasting sweetish. But if it is absolutely without salt, I dont know
But i would bet the one we used wasnt wine at all, but mirin flavourings as mentioned earlier.
Whats the purpose ?
 

SpikeC

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The purpose is to cook without bastardized ingredients. When I make teriyaki I want to make it properly. Good ingredients make a difference, in my experience.
 

bieniek

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Go to japan.
In my experience you will allways do compromise something along the way.
 

mikemac

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If your in portland, you shold be able to take a walk and find it in one of the better asian markets, but you're looking for booze, not seasonings. Apparently it should be 14% alcohol, and the 1% stuff with the salt added is made that way to avoid the liquor tax, and it seems like the 1% stuff is what 99% of the world uses.
In looking around I did come across something that sounded like it could pick up the pace or my cooking....MSG coated salt.
good luck/post results
 

steeley

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3/4 C sake 1/4 C sugar 2 T water
or make a simple syrup and add sake to taste .:addsalt:
 

eshua

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If you want unseasoned mirin...you buy sake. No?
 

la2tokyo

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Mirin is available here in L.A. without salt or added sugar but it's very difficult to find. I bought some at Marukai a few months ago. Even some of the ones that say Hon-Mirin (which should be real Mirin) are still made with seasoning, so you basically have to look at all the labels. Start with the most expensive bottles - and anything in plastic almost certainly has salt and/or corn syrup. The one I found was in a clear square glass bottle.

On the plus side, if you're using it for teriyaki the difference will be very slight to possibly none. Only when you use it in lighter cooking are the differences really apparent.
 

ecchef

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Mutual Trading Co. has a vast array of products. The closest one to you would be LA. See if they'll ship.
 

SpikeC

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Mirin is not saki. They are two different products, made differently. How can I explore true Japanese cuisine without true Japanese ingredients?
 

mhlee

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Mirin is not saki. They are two different products, made differently. How can I explore true Japanese cuisine without true Japanese ingredients?
Don't get me wrong, Mirin is one of the most used ingredients in Japanese cuisine. However, I would say that most restaurants don't buy super premium Mirin - depending on the dish, you could use as little as a few tablespoons, or as much as several cups. At $5 a bottle (or more) for the real stuff, it would become prohibitively expensive to use. I would just try using one of the commercially available Mirins and see what you like. Personally, I'm using Kikkoman right now. I've used Takara before. I don't use the cheap stuff since they're mostly HFCS. But I don't spend a lot on the stuff.

Quick question: Why did you not want to buy Mirin with salt added? You would eventually have to add salt to almost any dish you wanted to make.
 

JohnnyChance

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Don't get me wrong, Mirin is one of the most used ingredients in Japanese cuisine. However, I would say that most restaurants don't buy super premium Mirin - depending on the dish, you could use as little as a few tablespoons, or as much as several cups. At $5 a bottle (or more) for the real stuff, it would become prohibitively expensive to use.
The salted and seasoned fake stuff costs more than that. A 1 liter bottle of Kikkoman aji-mirin at my local asian supermarket costs $8.49.
 

SpikeC

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Michael, when soy sauce is in the dish there is already plenty of salt.
Ecchef, I will check them out and see it they can help.
 

SpikeC

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That is perfect, butt the $40 shipping charge is a little much!
 

mhlee

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Spike -

Have you considered using a low sodium soy sauce?

Nonetheless, I called Takara Sake in Berkeley. The person I spoke with said that they do not add salt to their consumer Mirins. (Their website does not identify ingredients.) I read elsewhere that their Takara Masamune Mirin does not include salt. And, I also spoke with the Japanese Market I used to work at and was informed that the non-Aji Mirins (which takes out the Kikkoman Aji Mirin) do not include salt (I think the Takara Masamune Mirin is in this style). So,I would look for Takara Mirins - they're widely available here in California.

And with respect to your concern about being authentic, Takara in Berkeley is an offshoot of one of the large sake producers/distributors in Japan. The facility has been in Berkeley for at least twenty years.
 

SpikeC

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Thanks, Michael, the shipping is rather brutal, butt I went ahead and ordered a bottle anyway!
 

SpikeC

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The mirin arrived today, and it is very distinctive in flavor. I am doing Greek style chicken tonight, butt I'm looking forward to some teriyaki with this!
 

EdipisReks

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i guess things are different in Ohio, as i can buy several brands and varieties of mirin rather inexpensively the local Asian grocery stores, and it's not sold as an alcoholic beverage. good stuff and i agree that it's very distinctive.
 

SpikeC

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There are lots of cooking mirins available, but I was finding it really hard to find any without salt added. I would prefer to control the sodium content myself, thus the search. The MIRIN that I obtained is without added sodium and is not the same as the "cooking Mirin" thet is commonly available, although they do call it "cooking MIRIN", it is salt free. I cannot help but think that MIRIN without salt is a better product than one that is adulterateated to be undrinkable.
 

EdipisReks

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the mirin i've bought isn't "cooking mirin," but i have no idea what the salt content is, as i don't read or speak Japanese. i imagine you're right in your assumption.
 

SpikeC

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There is one mega asian grocery store that I haven't checked recently, so there may be some that I am not aware of. Here in Puddletown we have a large asian population which makes me confused why there are still some products that are not prevalent. I can get kaffir lime leaves, fresh galangal, and all sorts of esoteric ingredients, but unsalted Mirin has been a stumbling block! Go figger!
 

mhlee

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Spike:

Which brand did you end up buying?
 

SpikeC

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I haven't had a chance to cook with it yet, but a taste test shows a distinctive flavor that I can see working with sake.
 

heirkb

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I haven't had a chance to cook with it yet, but a taste test shows a distinctive flavor that I can see working with sake.
Where did you buy it in Berkeley? Tokyo Fish?
 

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