Hon-mirin, or true mirin, is traditionally made by combining, fermenting, and aging three forms of protein-rich and starch-laden types of rice ingredients: steamed glutinous rice (mochi-gome), cultured rice (kome-koji), and distilled rice liquor (kome-jochu). It is a delicious and compelling alcohol that is an essential kakushi-aji, or secret ingredient, in Japanese cooking because its unique culinary properties and range of rich flavors are key building blocks for making dishes light yet satisfying. With an alcohol content of around 14%, hon-mirin helps to purify aromas and tenderize foods. Being sweet, it balances saltiness and acidity in dishes.
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