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If you have not discovered authentic mirin (sweet rice wine), you are in for a treat. An exquisite, versatile seasoning, it has the unique ability to coax out and accentuate the flavors from bland or light-tasting foods. Known as one of the three essential tastes of traditional Japanese cuisine, mirin's mild sweetness balances many dishes and tones down others, such as seafoods.

Mirin adds texture and an appetizing luster to foods that are glazed. With a little experience, you can use mirin in a variety of ways to enhance both Oriental and Western styles of cooking. Japan's traditional sweetener (before white sugar took over), mirin enhances the flavors of sweet as well as savory sauces, vinaigrettes, noodle broths, simmered vegetable and fish dishes, sautées and stir-fries, fried noodles, sushi rice, marinades, and dips for tempura and sushi.

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