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Help me analyze butterfish recipe (Mirin question)...

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phan1 Jul 13, 2008 12:30 PM

Hi, I have a question about a simple butterfish recipe, pretty much the same thing you'll find in any butterfish recipe:

Miso Marinade:
1 cup sake ($0.45
1 cup mirin, a sweet Japanese beverage used mostly in cooking ($0.55)
1/2 lb sugar ($0.22)
1/2 lb miso paste ($0.35)

Simple enough, but the one thing I don't get is adding mirin. From what I know, mirin is a sweet rice wine with a low alcohol content. So why am I doing this when I already have sake (in which I will boil to cook out the alcohol) and sugar in the recipe? That's like someone giving me a marinade recipe that includes red wine and red cooking wine. Could someone help me understand what role mirin plays in the recipe? I'm on the assumption that:

boiled sake + sugar = mirin (an even better mirin than I can get out of a bottle)

  1. Sam Fujisaka Jul 13, 2008 07:08 PM

    For me:

    1 cup sake ($5.00)
    1 cup mirin ($4.00)
    1/2 lb sugar ($0.50)
    1/2 lb miso paste ($4.50)
    1 cup white vinegar ($0.75)

    So I would use miso, white vinegar, and sugar. In your case I would go with the recipe. Mirin is a vinegar; sake is booze.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
      mochi mochi Jul 13, 2008 10:01 PM

      Sam,
      You make me smile.
      Thanks.

    2. todao Jul 13, 2008 12:45 PM

      Sake, which is generally described as being a dry rice wine, differs in flavor from the sweeter Mirin. I suspect it's not simply to difference is the sweetness/dryness of these two ingredients but in the subtle differences in flavor and that the recipe's author found some value in the flavoring qualities of each. I have worked with recipes that include either Mirin or Sake - never could understand why the author would do that.
      It might be fun to try the recipe three ways, Mirin only, Sake only, Combination of the two and see how the results are affected with each method.

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