Korean clear/yellow mirim being poured into a clear bowl.

What Is Mirim? Korean Cooking Rice Wine

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In South Korea, people use different types of ingredients to add sweetness to a dish. Some of these ingredients include grated Asian pear, sugar, honey, corn syrup, rice syrup, green plum extract, and more. This week, we are writing about a popular sweetener that also adds tangy, rich umami to a dish. It is known as mirim! 

What Is Mirim?

In English, ‘Mirim’ (미림) is known as ‘Korean cooking rice wine’ or just ‘Korean cooking wine.’ In South Korea, people use this alcohol-based sweetener to remove undesirable smells and flavors of meat and fish as well as enhance and balance the flavors of a dish. Beyond that, people use this ingredient to tenderize meat!

Traditionally, people make mirim by fermenting a mixture made of glutinous rice, distilled alcohol, and other added ingredients. The resulting flavor tastes a lot like Japanese sake but much sweeter. It also has a lower alcohol content (about 14%). This alcohol is what helps to tenderize meat.

How Is It Different From Japanese Mirin?

‘Mirin’ is Japanese cooking rice wine, while ‘Mirim’ is the Korean counterpart. They are fundamentally the exact same ingredient. Because these two ingredients are identical in color and flavor, you can use them interchangeably. 

Mirim in Korean Cooking:

As stated above, in the Korean language, cooking rice wine is known as ‘mirim’ (미림). Below, we list a few examples of dishes in which people often use this Korean ingredient:

  • Jokbal (족발): In English, this dish is known as braised pig trotters or braised pig feet. Often, mirim adds sweetness to this dish as well as acts as a tenderizer.
  • Galbi-Jjim (갈비찜): In South Korea, people also add mirim to braised beef short ribs. Like the pig trotters, people add it to flavor and tenderize the meat.
  • Bulgogi (불고기): This famous Korean dish is known as marinated Korean beef bbq in English. Depending on the family recipe, some people use either Asian pear, cooking rice wine, or a combination of the two to sweeten this dish and soften the meat.

On my site, I used mirim to make my Korean-Southern fusion Korean grits bowl as well as Andong jjimdak (Korean braised chicken).

Korean mirim being poured onto a spoon.

Mirim Frequently Asked Questions:

Now that we learned about mirim, we want to answer some questions you may have about this ingredient! If we do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com

Where Can I Buy Korean Cooking Rice Wine?

You can find mirim in Korean markets as well as large Asian grocery chains. Not only that, you can buy this ingredient online!

How Long Does This Ingredient Last?

If stored properly, you can keep mirim for a few years! 

How Should I Store Mirim?

To keep mirim good for extended periods, store it in a cool place such as the pantry. As I stated above, this ingredient can last for years when stored properly.

What Is a Mirim Substitute?

Japanese mirin and Korean mirim are identical in color and flavor. If you cannot find a Korean brand, buy Japanese mirin instead. Often, you can find the Japanese version of sweet rice cooking wine in the international aisle of most well-stocked grocery stores. 

We Hope You Enjoyed Learning About Korean Mirim!

In the end, we hope you enjoyed learning about Mirim, otherwise known as Korean cooking rice wine! If so, let us know in the comment section! 

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey Korean recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage.

Korean Ingredient Articles: 

Further Carving A Journey Korean Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com.

And, finally, we would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow us at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to our blog by joining our mailing list. Let us know if you make anything with mirim! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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