Ika Mirin Age: A Classic Japanese Squid Senbei Cracker
“Shoyu (醤油: soy sauce)” and “Mirin (味醂: sweet cooking rice wine)” are seasonings that represent Japan and they are often used together not only in dishes in Japanese cuisine, but also for Japanese snack foods.
Typically, good and old Japanese snacks tend to be flavored with soy sauce and mirin since these seasonings have also been around in Japan for centuries.
If I give a representative example of such classic Japanese snacks using the seasoning combination of shoyu and mirin, what comes to mind right away includes what I introduce here “Ika Mirin (いかみりん)”.
Ika Mirin (いかみりん)
Ika Mirin, also known as “Ika Mirin Age (いかみりん揚)” or “Ika Mirin Senbei (いかみりんせんべい)”, is a classic Japanese squid cracker made from potato starch and seasoned mainly with soy sauce and mirin sweet cooking rice wine.
Ika Mirin has been widely consumed in Japan for decades typically as an afternoon snack with hot green tea, and a number of food companies are producing and selling it by the name of Ika Mirin or Ika Mirin Age or Ika Mirin Senbei. But I don’t know who first made it.
As you may already know, there are a bunch of snack foods using “Ika (いか)” in Japan and in fact I wrote about many of those Ika snacks in the past. As Ika means squid in Japanese, each of these Ika Mirin crackers contains the meat and has the embossment of a squid on the surface.
Ika Mirin Senbei features its pleasant crispiness as well as having a pretty sweet taste from mirin. Unlike typical Senbei, the soy sauce in it isn’t overbearing at all but is almost hidden under the intensity of mirin. Despite that, the aftertaste of Ika Mirin Senbei is refreshing probably because of the property of mirin.
For those who want to know specific ingredients in Ika Mirin Age, here are what the Ika Mirin I have now mainly contains: potato starch, soy sauce, sugar, dextrin, mirin, starch syrup, fermented seasoning, bonito extract, pork extract, shrimps, squid, vegetable fat and oil, salt, sesame, seaweed called Aosa, protein hydrolysate, dried mackerel, scallop extract powder, and red chili pepper.
Price and Where to Buy
Ika Mirin Senbei is a casual snack that only costs 100 yen (about 1 USD) or so per 50g. Since the squid Senbei has long been loved by both adults and children in Japan, it is available in many supermarkets and convenience stores around the country.