I have cooked lots of recipes with mirin and realize I haven’t explained what it is to those of you not in-the-know!
Mirin is Japanese and was first introduced as a highly prized distilled alcoholic drink. Sake (which is Japanese rice wine) was mixed with rice, and/or sweet rice to make this drink which could be as much as 14% proof. This is over-simplifying the whole history of this wonderful condiment but suffice is to say that a few years or century later, industrious chefs got hold of it and starting adding it to dishes to enhance flavors. You know, the way wine is used in cooking today.
Authentic mirin contains rice, sweet rice, and water, and it has no additives or preservatives. The alcohol content was lowered for cooking to around 1 % so it qualified as a condiment, and not a taxable liquor.
If you look hard to can find more authentic mirin. The local run-of-the-mill supermarket varieties have additives like fructose. This is still acceptable in a pinch. Mirin has a lovely sweet nuttiness and pairs great with salty things like soy sauce.
It is Asian, so any kind of stir-fry is a vehicle for this lovely syrupy liquid. I also love it in a marinade for fish or soy sauce.
It is less expensive than a nice balsamic vinegar or olive oil, so buy a bottle and give it a try.
And, if you ever visit Japan, I would love a bottle of the real deal!