This Japanese Ingredient Will Help Remove That Raw Chicken Smell

Use this on "fresh chicken" meat that has developed a funky smell.

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Are you one of those shoppers who meticulously inspect their food and packages while they shop? Does every egg need to be crack-free and each piece of meat odor- and slime-free before you place it in your cart?

If you are, you know that the ingredients and products you buy are the best that you can find. That's a great shopping practice! 

Not all shoppers are as meticulous as you are and for those who nevertheless discovered that their "fresh chicken" meat has developed a funky smell after purchase despite it looking and smelling fresh at the time of purchase, you know this isn't a good thing. You will know if the meat has gone bad because it will smell putrid and offensive. If this is the odor that you smell, that's your clue that it's best to toss it out and save yourself from food poisoning. 

However, not all smells are dangerous. If your "fresh chicken" smells just a little bit off and isn't offensive, you can still cook and eat the meat! Most harmful bacteria can be neutralized by cooking your meats properly, until 165 degrees F or about 74 degrees C for chicken. If you're worried that the smell will leak into your food, there's a trick that you can use to get rid or at least mask that smell. 

Photo by courtesy of Rustan's Supermarket
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Use Japanese mirin or ryorishu

Mirin is Japanese sweetened rice wine, a sake (rice wine) made from glutinous rice. Known as a cooking wine, it's commonly used in marinades, sauces, and, although it's treated as an ingredient for cooking, it can be sipped and enjoyed like a sherry as an after-meal drink or dessert drink. 


Mirin can tenderize meats too while its inherent sweetness thickens sauces, creating a wonderful glaze that's fantastic with fried or grilled meats. This is an important ingredient in a true Japanese teriyaki sauce. If you're worried about the alcohol, don't be. The alcohol will burn off during cooking or a brief simmering, leaving behind the sweetness that you're looking for in the mirin

The same goes for the more rare ryorishi. Ryorishi is a cooking sake that was developed specifically for cooking. It does and acts the same as mirin will in your recipes but is a more affordable option if you can find it in stores. 

To use either of these ingredients to help remove the funkiness of raw chicken, here's what you do: 

  1. 1. Place raw chicken in a bowl or bag.
  2. 2. Add about 1/4 cup mirin or ryorishu for every kilo of meat, just enough to coat each piece. Season with salt, and toss to coat every piece. 
  3. 3. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. 
  4. 4. Rinse the chicken, dry, and proceed with your recipe. 

What's so great about using these ingredients is that neither ingredient will cook your food unlike vinegar will. If you don't have these two kinds of sake available, you can use 1/2 cup vinegar to remove funky smells but note that it can start to cook your chicken and make it tough. 

Visit the international section of your supermarket and look for mirin or ryorishu for your kitchen! It's a great ingredient to have on have, if only to make traditional Japanese teriyaki sauce but also, as a great ingredient to help you cook better.  



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here!


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