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Alcohol Swaps and Substitutes: Mirin and Riesling

Asked by Odalisque. Answered on 11th July 2011

Full question

I would love to make Nigella's Coq Au Riesling and her crab and avocado salad from the Workday Wonders episode, but I would like to make them without the alcohol. What would be good swaps for the riesling and the the mirin, respectively? Thank you!

Our answer

Both the recipes mentioned appear in Nigella Express - Coq au Riesling on p119 and the Crab and Avocado Salad on p33. For the Coq au Riesling we would like to mention that the alcohol in the wine should evaporate with the cooking process but you can substitute 750mls (3 cups) of chicken stock for the wine, though the flavour will be slightly different. You could also try using a mixture of white grape juice and stock, though we haven't tested this so we can't give any specific volumes and remember that the grape juice will be quite sweet so only a small quantity would be needed.

Mirin has a very low alcohol content and is a sweetened rice wine. Assuming that you are looking for a non-alcoholic alternative we would suggest making up a light sugar syrup with 2 teaspoons of caster sugar dissolved in 4 teaspoons of hot water. The dressing needs a balance of sweet, sour and hot, so once you have mixed the dressing do taste it as you may find that you need to add a few drops extra of vinegar or a pinch extra of sugar to achieve a balance that suits you. If alcohol is not an issue then you can dissolve sugar in sake or dry sherry in the ratio of 1 tablespoon of sugar to 3 tablespoons of sake. Warm the liquid gently and stir in the sugar so that it dissolves thoroughly.

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