How to Make Your Cooking Easier

Quick Answer!
A mixture of sake and sugar is the most commonly used substitute as it is believed to give the most similar mirin-like taste.

While you can always get authentic food at joints specialized in particular cuisines, there is no harm in trying these recipes at home. However, you may not always find the specific ingredients that a recipe demands. Mirin is one such ingredient which is widely used in Japanese food, however, it cannot be easily found in western countries. It is a rice wine which has low alcohol content and a very sweet flavor. The fermentation of rice while making this condiment is highly controlled as the focus is on the desired sweetness rather than the alcohol content. It is not as popular as sake which has more alcohol content and is not as sweet. You may look for it in the Asian section of grocery stores or visit shops specializing in oriental ingredients. Liquor shop is another alternative for finding this condiment. Ordering it online is yet another option you have, but then you will have to bear hefty shipping charges. In that case, substitutes for the same can help one out.

Substitutes for Mirin
It is necessary that the substitute being used has a pinch of sourness along with a dry sweetness. The commonly used substitutes that do not alter the flavor or taste of a recipe in any way are sake, white wine, or dry sherry, mixed along with sugar.

Sake

Using sake and adding sugar to it, is a practice that is mostly followed for mirin substitution. Since mirin is often called sweet sake, sake roughly imparts the same taste and flavor to a recipe. However, you will need to lower the alcohol content and add sugar to it to bring it to the same level as mirin. The proportion in which you should substitute sake is as follows:
1 tbsp. mirin = 1 tbsp. sake + 2 tsp. sugar

White Wine

White wine is also known to work as a replacement when used in the same proportion as that of sake and sugar. It may give a bit of a fruitier taste.
1 tbsp. mirin = 1 tbsp. white wine + 2 tsp. sugar

Dry Sherry

Due to the stiff and acidic flavor of dry sherry, it can be used in cooking. It can be added as a replacement in equal proportions. When using the same, make sure to adjust the salt content of your recipe according to its content in sherry. Also, it is better to add a little sugar to the sherry for a sweeter taste.
1 tbsp. mirin = 1 tbsp. dry sherry + ½ tsp. sugar

Vinegar

In case you are looking for a nonalcoholic substitute, then vinegar can also be used. The result would depend on the type of vinegar being used as in some cases the vinegar flavor would be more pronounced. Even though rice wine and rice wine vinegars are used interchangeably, you may miss out on the authentic flavor and taste. White wine or distilled white wine vinegars are also used as replacements although not common and not much preferred.
1 tbsp. of mirin = 1 tbsp. of vinegar + ½ tsp. granulated sugar

Used in Cooking
Although drinking mirin is customary during Japanese festivals and New Year, its primary usage is in cooking. Apart from imparting a sweet flavor to a recipe, it also renders a rich glaze to grilled meats and vegetables. It is mostly used for making Japanese sauces and glazes, and is also used in fish recipes to kill the strong odor of meat.
Choosing any one of the aforementioned substitutes would depend on the demand of the recipe. Furthermore, a mixture of sake and sugar can be an ideal choice for teriyaki sauces and dips. Opt for sherry only if you cannot find sake or white wine.

Tips to Sukiyabashi Jiro

Three Michelin Stars
Sukiyabashi Jiro is, according to some, the best sushi restaurant in the world. It has a three-star rating from Michelin, which is an enormously high honor in the restaurant industry. Three-stars is the highest Michelin rating a restaurant can receive, and there are fewer than 100 Michelin three-star restaurants in the world. This distinction could be enough by itself to make Sukiyabashi Jiro stand out from the crowd, but the extraordinariness of the restaurant can’t be captured by a simple rating – even a world famous one.

The Menu
Located in the Chūō ward of Tokyo, Japan, Sukiyabashi Jiro is a small restaurant with pared-down décor. At around US$300 per plate, the menu at Sukiyabashi Jiro consists of only the “Chef’s Recommended Special Course,” which includes sushi selections that are right for the season and the current availability of fish. This menu only consists of sushi – the restaurant does not serve tempura or any other type of food, and Sukiyabashi Jiro does not accept credit cards. Characteristics like these give Sukiyabashi Jiro the appearance of being old-fashioned and maybe even a little stuffy, but they are part of the philosophy and mystique that helps the restaurant preserve sushi as a world-class culinary expertise.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Sukiyabashi Jiro was made famous in the United States by the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which profiled the restaurant and its owner and chef, Jiro Ono. The documentary which had a limited theatrical release in 2012, was directed by David Gelb. Originally, Gelb had intended to make a more general documentary about sushi, but was so compelled by the artistry and personality of Jiro that he opted to focus his film on Sukiyabashi Jiro instead. The film portrays Jiro as a single-minded artist who dedicated his entire life to mastering sushi, even occasionally sacrificing family life and other pleasures for his craft. In the documentary, Jiro frequently comments on his deep passion and love for sushi, and gives the impression of being extremely proud of his accomplishments.

Attention to Detail
As any sushi lover knows, sushi can vary widely in quality depending on a variety of factors. Jiro Ono attempts to control every possible factor that could affect quality, from buying the best fish at fish markets to meticulously hand-forming the individual sushi pieces. According to the restaurant’s website, Sukiyabashi Jiro prepares the vinegar used in their rice, which they carefully ensure is served at “human body temperature”. They only use cast iron gas rice cookers, rather than electric cookers, and the finish rice is placed in a straw container to maintain the temperature. This almost unfathomable attention to detail is part of what has given Sukiyabashi Jiro its reputation. Food connoisseurs like Anthony Bourdain have claimed that Jiro’s sushi is unbeatable.

Jiro’s Legacy
Jiro Ono has two sons, both of whom have followed in his footsteps as master sushi chefs. The eldest son works at Sukiyabashi Jiro in anticipation of inheriting the restaurant from his father, who was born in 1926. The younger son opened his own sushi restaurant, another branch of Sukiyabashi Jiro, in another part of Tokyo. This second, slightly less expensive restaurant is also highly regarded, and has earned a two-star rating from Michelin. For those with the means to visit either restaurant, Jiro’s reputation all but guarantees an unforgettable experience.

Delicious Japanese Noodle Recipes

If somebody talks about Japanese cuisine, one can’t forget to mention Japanese noodles. Although rice is the staple food of Japan, noodles form an integral part of the Japanese cuisine, especially as an alternative to rice-centric meal. Basically, there are three types of Japanese noodles―soba, udon, and ramen.

Soba noodles are thin and made up of buckwheat and wheat, whereas udon noodles are thick and made up of wheat only. Ramen noodles are also made up of wheat, but they can be thin, thick, or ribbon-like in shape. It is believed that soba and udon are traditional Japanese noodles, whereas ramen is based on Chinese noodles. There are several ways of preparing and serving these noodles.

The Zaru Soba

Ingredients

  • Soba (either fresh, homemade, or dried), 12 oz.
  • Instant dashi, 1 cup
  • Soba tsuyu sauce, 4 cups
  • Rice vinegar, 1 tbsp.
  • Ginger (grated), 2 tbsp.
  • Wasabi (root vegetable grated into a green paste or in powder form), 2 tbsp.
  • Nori seaweed (thin, dried), 1 sheet
  • Leek, 2
  • Scallions, 2
  • Daikon (grated), 2 tbsp.

Preparation

Boil the soba for about 6-8 minutes and drain the remaining water (the water can be consumed as a soup). Place the noodles under cold running water. Serve the cold or chilled boiled soba in a bamboo tray (zaru) with toppings of shredded nori seaweeds and with the soya-based sauce for dipping, called soba tsuyu on the side. Add dashi, wasabi, ginger, rice vinegar, and leek to the tsuyu sauce to get a good flavor and taste. Garnish with scallions and daikons while serving.

The Tsukimi Udon

Ingredients

  • Udon, 10 oz.
  • Chicken broth, 4 cups
  • 4 eggs
  • Naruto (fish sausage with a pink pattern inside)
  • Leek or green onion, 2
  • Soy sauce, 6 tbsp.
  • Mirin, 2 tbsp.
  • Sugar, ½ tbsp.
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

First, cut the naruto at about 7 mm thickness. Also cut the leek at about ½ cm length. Now, boil the udon in a saucepan and some water in another pan (water quantity should be about 100 ml per person). Sieve the boiled udon, and run the hot water over them. Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and salt to the hot water and boil it again. Pour the hot broth in 4 oven-friendly bowls and add the udon to them. Remove the yolks from the eggs carefully, and place them in the center of each bowl. Put the bowls in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes. Add the cut naruto and leek on the side and sprinkle some pepper. You can serve this dish with pork, bean sprouts, and bamboo shoots for a different taste.

The Miso Ramen

Ingredients

  • Ramen (straight and thin), 10 oz.
  • Chicken breast, ¼ lb
  • Chicken broth, 5 cups
  • Ginger paste, ½ tbsp.
  • Miso (fermented soybean), 6 tbsp.
  • Leek (chopped), 2
  • Seaweed
  • Scallions (sliced), 2
  • Soy sauce, 2 tbsp.

Preparation

Boil and cook the chicken on a low flame for about 30 minutes. Boil the ramen for about 5 minutes and drain. Divide the noodles into 4 bowls. Shred the boiled chicken into thin strips and add it on top of the noodles. In another saucepan, take the chicken broth, add the ginger paste to it, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Now, add the miso, leek, and shredded seaweed to the broth and mix well. Add the salt, pepper, and soy sauce according to your taste. Pour the hot broth into the bowls. Garnish with scallions, and serve it with sauce and bamboo shoots for extra flavor and taste.

The ingredients for Japanese noodle recipes are very typical and could be hard to find. However, one can get them in Japanese grocery stores, which are available in many of the major cities. The Japanese dishes including the noodles are one of the world’s healthiest diets.

How to Easy Japanese Recipes

Japanese cooking is popular everywhere throughout the globe for its one of a kind planning including kelp, crude fish, bubbled rice and numerous different mixes that satisfy the taste buds. True Japanese nourishment is uncommon and with such a large number of eateries serving Asian combination sustenance, this food is turning out to be much more dark with every passing day.

Tsukimi Soba

  • 4 servings of soba noodles (traditional Japanese noodles made of buckwheat)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ negi onion (Japanese green onion, similar to leeks)
  • 6 cup, Dashi soup (basic Japanese soup stock)
  • ⅓ cup, soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons, Mirin (a type of rice wine, similar to sake, but with less alcohol content)
  • ½ teaspoon, Salt

Chop the negi onion finely. Put the soy sauce, salt, mirin, and dashi in a pan and heat them all to make the soup. Boil the soba noodles in another pan, according to the directions given on the package. Once the noodles are cooked, put it into serving bowls, and pour the soup over it. Then, break an egg into each bowl, and spread the onion slices over it all. Serve immediately.

Oyako-Donburi

  • ¼ cup, chicken breasts
  • ½ cup, chicken broth
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms (soaked)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 tablespoons, Soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons, sugar
  • ¼ cup, green onions (chopped)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Salt, according to taste

Cut the chicken and mushroom into strips, and slice the onion. Then, heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions and chicken until the meat is tender. Add the chicken broth and cook on low heat. Now, add the carrots and mushroom, and a cook for a few more minutes; stir continuously. Add soy sauce, salt, and sugar and pour the beaten eggs into the chicken mixture. Continue cooking on low heat until the eggs are cooked. This goes very well with rice.

Yakitori

  • 1 lb chicken thighs (boneless)
  • 1½ cups, Mirin
  • ¾ cup, soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons, sugar
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 2 green onions (cut in inch-long pieces)
  • 8 bamboo skewers

Take a medium-sized saucepan and put the soy sauce, mirin, garlic, and sugar into it and cook them over a medium heat, until the sauce reduces to half its quantity. Allow it to cool a little while you prepare the chicken. Chop the chicken into small pieces (it is usual in Japan to keep the skin on). Skewer the pieces of chicken, alternating each piece with green onion. Start grilling the chicken without the sauce at first. When the meat starts to change color, brush the sauce evenly all over, and continue to grill, turning the skewers and continuing to brush with sauce, until done.

Matsutake Gohan

  • 2½ cups, Japanese rice
  • 1-2 matsutake mushrooms
  • 2½ cups, water
  • 1 Abura-age, fried tofu
  • 4 tablespoons, Sake (rice wine)
  • 4 tablespoons, soy sauce

First, wash the rice well in a bowl of cold water. Then, draining all the water out, put the rice with the 2 cups of water in a rice cooker and put it aside for half an hour. Next, slice the mushroom lengthwise and the abura-age into strips. Then, add the sake, soy sauce, abura-age and the matsutake into the rice cooker and turn on the switch and cook until done.

Chi Chi Dango Mochi

  • 1 lb of Mochiko, glutinous rice flour
  • 2½ cups, sugar
  • 1 teaspoon, baking powder
  • 2 cups, water
  • 1 can, coconut milk, (14 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon, vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon, red food color
  • 1½ cups, potato starch

Begin by preheating the oven to 175 ºC. Then grease a 9×13” baking pan. Whisk the rice flour, baking powder, and sugar together, and put it aside. Then, in a medium-sized bowl, mix together the coconut milk, water, vanilla, and red coloring, and then blend in the rice flour mixture. Pour this batter into the greased baking pan, cover with a foil and bake for one hour. Then, let it cool completely. Next, dust a clean surface with the potato starch and turn the pan of mochi on it. Use a plastic knife to cut the mochi into bite-sized pieces. This is a delicious Japanese dessert.