What is it?
Sweetened rice wine. Great for adding subtle sweetness to savoury dishes. Also gets rid of smelliness of fish and meat. Mostly used in sauces.
What does it look like?
Is it easy to find?
Yes! Many supermarkets, Asian food stores, online
Are there different types?
There are many variations of mirin. The main difference is the alcohol content. I like to use hon mirin which has more alcohol and less sugar but if you are buying from a supermarket, there is unlikely to be much choice!
Is there an alternative?
You can substitute mirin with sake and sugar. Use in ration 3:1 i.e. 3 tbsp sake, 1 tbsp sugar = 4 tbsp mirin (more or less)
When using mirin in a sauce, be sure to bring the sauce to the boil to burn off the alcohol. Mirin is also nice for making your food shiny. Shiny chicken!