Ohsawa Organic Mirin
Mirin, an essential element of Japanese cuisine, is a sweet rice wine with less alcohol and a more pronounced natural sweetness than sake. While many grocery-store brands are actually mostly corn syrup, we love Ohsawa Organic Genuine Mirin because it is the real stuff, made using traditional methods by the Kankyo Brewery since 1862. Subtly sweet, mellow and full of umami, this authentic mirin is made by fermenting sweet rice and sake with a special Japanese rice mold for 60 to 90 days then aging the raw product for a full nine months. This condiment both seasons and sweetens, balancing out the salinity of soy-based dishes and adding a lustrous sheen to all of our favorite Asian dishes. And unlike perishable wine or vermouth, mirin can be stored at room temperature in your pantry.
Ohsawa Organic Genuine Mirin will add silky sweetness and umami to all sorts of Asian dishes. Try it in our Chicken Teriyaki Donburi or Soy-Steamed Japanese-Style Rice with Mushrooms and Tofu, both of which use mirin in classic Japanese style as a mellow counterpoint to soy sauce. You can also bring out the sweet notes of the Korean chili paste gochujang in our Gochujang-Glazed Potatoes (Gamja Jorim) or Korean Chicken-Vegetable Soup with Noodles. Mirin adds crucial body to the dressing of our Eventide Green Salad with Nori Vinaigrette; the dressing is also great tossed with cold soba noodles for a quick noodle salad or drizzled over poached salmon or shrimp. You can also use mirin as a base for pan sauces: After browning steaks, chops or chicken broths, deglaze the pan with 2 to 3 tablespoons mirin, simmer down by half, and whisk in butter and herbs to taste.
For an all-purpose dipping sauce for noodles or dumplings, make mentsuyu: Simply combine ½ cup each mirin and sake and ¼ cup soy sauce (and if you have either, ½ cup of bonito flakes and 3-inch piece of kombu seaweed). Bring to a simmer, then cool (and strain if adding bonito or knob); it’ll store indefinitely in the refrigerator. This sauce can also be blended with miso and diluted to serve as a soup base or boiled to concentrate into a teriyaki glaze.
Ohsawa White Nama Shoyu
Aged in cedar barrels until it reaches a golden-honey hue, this condiment is the soy-free sister of soy sauce—getting its powerful umami properties from fermented wheat rather than soy. Ohsawa’s White Nama Shoyu is particularly special, as its hand-crafted with double the amount of wheat of standard white shoyu to concoct a richer, thicker, more densly-flavored sauce. It leads with a hit of salt and pronounced savoriness, and follows with a delicate, almost-fruity hint of sweetness that creates a layer of mouthwatering complexity.
The all-purpose condiment functions much like a standard soy sauce— able to impart flavor into nearly any and all foods—but without adding a heavy color or dominant taste that alters the character of a dish. Although there are many soy sauce substitutes on the market, we prefer Ohsawa White Nama Shoyu, as it provides a naturally soy-free alternative while still being a Japanese pantry staple worth having even if you don’t need to avoid soy.
Use as an elegant dipping sauce for dumplings and other small bites or pour into soups and cooking water for noodles and grains for a boost of flavor. It’s also a versatile solo seasoning to drizzle over anything you wish.