Hi There! You may have heard about mirin and rice vinegar in many Japanese cuisines, but did you know which among them is better? Get to know the differences between rice vinegar vs. mirin in this new post.
Rice Vinegar vs. Mirin
Let’s start by briefly covering the basics about rice vinegar and mirin as common additions to various dishes!
As you may have guessed from its name, rice vinegar is simply vinegar that is made by fermenting rice.
However, the vinegar also differs according to the area it originates from. For example, Chinese rice vinegar comes in different colors from red to black, whereas the Japanese one is much milder and thus yellow in color.
Furthermore, Korean rice vinegar is derived from either white or brown rice while Vietnamese rice vinegar, also known as dam gao, is a bit more sour and comes in different varieties that are either stronger or lighter in terms of the sour flavor.
On the other hand, mirin is one of the most essential condiments in Japan. Mirin is actually a type of rice wine, which is where it differs from rice vinegar.
It has a bit of alcohol in it, which makes it similar to sake, the traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage. However, mirin contains much less alcohol and more sugar content.
Interestingly, the sugar is not added during the procedure of making mirin. It actually forms naturally during the fermentation process.
If you look for the traditional Japanese mirin, you will come across different types such as hon mirin and shio mirin.
Rice Vinegar Uses
One of the differences between rice vinegar and mirin is their usage. For starters, rice vinegar is used in salads, as it makes for a great salad dressing, while it is also one of the essential sushi ingredients.
- Dips and sauces
- Sushi rice
- Stir-fry dishes
- Sweet and sour recipes
It’s flavor perfectly suits both hot and cold dishes and it can even be used to better the taste of meat or vegetables, especially grilled.
The subtle flavor of rice vinegar allows it to mix well with both sweet and sour meals, without altering the taste too much.
On the other hand, mirin features a slightly different, syrup-like texture that has a sweeter taste due to the higher sugar contents.
Therefore, it is mostly used to add sweetness to dishes and different sauces.
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Grilled meat
- Fish recipes
- Simmered mushrooms
- Tempura dip
Health Benefits and Nutritional Value
Furthermore, these two differ in terms of health benefits, while their nutritional value is pretty similar. If we were to choose the healthier option between the two, rice vinegar would definitely win the battle.
Benefits of Rice Vinegar
One tablespoon of rice vinegar carries roughly around 20 calories, whereas a tablespoon of mirin carries a double amount that is 40 calories per tablespoon.
Even though those are very low values, rice vinegar comes up as the healthier option because it is low in saturated fat and contains less cholesterol and sodium.
Rice vinegar is a better ingredient for maintaining overall health. Rice vinegar even has some antiseptic properties too. It successfully eliminate different bacteria from the body.
It can also provide relief during fatigue thanks to the mono acid that keeps you energized. Moreover, it helps protect blood vessels, thus improving cardiovascular health and is quite great for liver.
On top of that, rice vinegar gives a great boost to your immune system and can help lose weight if combined with the right foods.
Mirin, on the other hand, is not as beneficial when it comes to health and wellness. It is quite versatile in terms of cooking but there isn’t much to point out regarding health benefits.
It has higher alcoholic and sugar content which is not suitable for those suffering from diabetes. They should use the healthier option, which is rice vinegar.
Though occasional use of Mirin will not harm you, if you want to maintain optimum health and watch out for your weight, avoid mirin and stick to rice vinegar to make sure you’re on the right path to reaching your fitness goals!
Mirin and rice vinegar both originate from the Japanese culture. There are also different types of rice vinegar from China, Vietnam and Korea.
Due to the differences in flavor and texture, the two ingredients are used in different manners. Mirin is best in enhancing grilled meals and give sweetness to saltier dishes. On the other hand, rice vinegar is a great salad dressing and even one of the key ingredients of sushi.
Rice vinegar comes with more health and nutrition benefits than Mirin. Because of the alcoholic content and the sugary taste, mirin is not a good fit for diabetics, elderly and children.
Do you have some Japanese recipes with Mirin or rice vinegar on it? Care to share in the comments below!