Mirin Recipe

Mirin

Mirin is a sweet wine used in Japanese cookery. In the UK we’re most familiar with its use in teriyaki sauce, but it is used in a wide range of other Japanese dishes.

Traditionally mirin is made from shochu, a Japanese spirit usually made from sweet potato. Shochu is difficult (and expensive) to get hold of  in the UK, so I’ve used vodka.

It’s really easy to make – just mix koji, cooked rice, and a neutral tasting spirit. Then leave at room temperature for 2 – 3 months. I mixed 300ml vodka, 100g koji and 100g of cooled, cooked rice. 

After 3 months the mirin develops a rich golden colour. At this stage you can strain off the solids or leave it to mature further. I like to leave the solids in the liquid, carefully pouring off the amount I’d like to use for each recipe. This means I get the best of both worlds – the ability to use it now and for it to mature further with time.

Much of the mirin available in the UK is made from sweetners and not produced in the traditional way. By creating your own mirin you get to experience a product that is naturally fermented and rich in nutrients.

Vodka Mirin

Mirin is a sweet wine used in Japanese cookery. It is easy to make and much tastier than commercially available products which are no longer produced in the traditional way.
Prep Time10 minutes
Fermentation Time90 days
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Koji, mirin, rice wine

Ingredients

  • 300 ml vodka
  • 100 g koji
  • 100 g cooked rice cooled

Instructions

  • Mix the ingredients in a clean bottle
  • Leave to mature for 3 months
  • Strain off the solids and enjoy the mirin in teriyaki or your favourite Japanese dish

15 thoughts on “Mirin Recipe

  1. Do you cover the bottle while it ferments?

    1. Yes, I just put a normal stopper in the bottle. No gas is created during mirin production

  2. Is the koji dry or wet?

    1. I used dry, but you can use either

  3. Do you grind or blend the rice and Koji rice at all?

    1. No, I just keep it whole. It will still work if you blend the rice, but just make it more difficult to filter out at the end.

  4. Isn’t koji rice? So you are just using 2 types of rice? What type of cooked rice?

    1. Koji rice is a special rice which has the fungi aspergillus oryzae growing through it. This fungi has eaten all the rice that was present and so koji rice is almost all aspergillus oryzae. The mirin recipe calls for koji rice and normal rice (any will do – sushi rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice etc) so the enzymes in the koji can work on the carbohydrates in the rice.

  5. can you use sake (shochikubai) instead of vodka or shochu?

    can you use sake and shochu? I did not have enough vodka.

    1. Hi Mimi, You can use any alcohol with a high enough alcohol content – roughly 20% or more. Sake normally has an alcohol content below 15%, so I wouldn’t advise using it. Any spirit should be OK.

  6. This recipe is about 95% better than any other recipe I found (initially).
    It is more than: use sake and sweeten it.

    However I have got one issue: mirin is not a fermented product. The fact, that no gas is produced is basically telling you, that there is no microbial action going on. It is an enzymatic conversion (enzymes… fermentation is based on yeast and bacteria).

    Just saying…

    1. Hi Dominik, It’s great to hear that you’ve found the recipe useful!

      There are many different definitions of fermentation, it really depends on which branch of science you’re following. Most fermented food definitions include enzymatic conversion as a form of fermentation, but I’m happy for you follow your own naming conventions. Either way it’s a delicious result!

  7. It´s nice to see recipes for mirin popping around. 🙂 I´m going to make my own as well – plan to grow koji this weekend and then mix it with sticky rice and vodka.
    I just have one question on my mind.
    The enzymes in koji work even in full strenght vodka (approx. 40% alc.)? Alcohol this strong doesn´t hinder enzymatic activity? Traditional shochu is about 25%, so I wonder.
    Regards

    1. That is a good question! I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that. All I do know is that I have successfully made mirin using vodka several times. It might slow down activity (it might not?), but those enzymes are still working.

      1. I´m try to find out – wrote to Japan to several mirin makers. 🙂
        I asked about enzymes acitivity in strong alcohol, like awamori for example.
        First reply was straight – we never used anything else than shochu so we do not know.

        🙂

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