Mirin tossed chicken in brown butter spaghetti

spagetti with mirin chicken


My younger son, all of 10, was very upset one day. He has recently made friends with a brother-sister duo whose parents belong to Pakistan. One day, while playing at a get together, he learned that the sister is responsible for a lot of chores, while the brother gets to goof around the house. “Is that fair?’ he asked me later. ” She has so many chores that she did not even want to go back home, while he does not have any,” his voice full of troubled confusion. “He does not need to do anything. She is supposed to be the one cleaning up after herself as well as him.” He simply saw it as unfair. Why should the sister who is younger, only seven, gets to do the chores while the brother, who is two years older, gets to watch TV and play video games?

The simple fact is, this is possibly the very first case of gender discrimination that he has witnessed and that has left him highly troubled. In fact, I don’t think he even realized that what he had witnessed was a discrimination based on gender. For him, it was more a matter of equality, of chores being divided equally fair and square between two siblings. In the advanced, developed world today, we forget how women in many areas of the world are still treated as second grade citizens, their ability to cook well seen as an achievement rather than a life skill, and serving the needs of others, especially the men, seen as the sole reason for their existence. It shook me up as well.

Spaghetti with chicken

My son advised this little girl and her brother to talk to their Mom and tell her how important it is to divide the chores equally between the two of them. ” You  should do more chores.’ he told the brother,’ because you are older.” The brother didn’t like it at all, while the sister was smiling the entire time while at the company of my kiddo.

I was so proud of him. Such a simple, naive, beautiful outlook in life – if only life and its complexities could untangle itself in such an innocent way, if only these deep rooted, highly troubling cultural attitudes changed so easily…..

Creating this spaghetti dish is much more simple.

I recently discovered mirin, a condiment widely used in Japanese cuisine. It is semi sweet, yet tangy. Combined with some hot pepper flakes and garlic, this was a super quick, easy and delightful dish that won our palates and hearts.

spagetti with mirin chicken

5.0 from 3 reviews
Mirin tossed chicken in brown butter spaghetti
For the noodles
  • 1 pkt spaghetti boiled and drained according to instructions.
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
For the chicken
  • 1 lbs chicken cut into nugget size
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp chopped garlic
  • ½ cup finely chopped shallots
  • ½ cup finely chopped spring onions
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp large red chili flakes
To cook the chicken
  1. Marinade the chicken pieces in 1 tbsp mirin and 1 tsp soya sauce
  2. Heat oil and add garlic
  3. Add the chicken pieces and saute on high.
  4. Fry well.
  5. Add shallots
  6. Add white and black pepper and spring onions. Stir well.
  7. Lower the flame, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir periodically. If it's too dry, add 1 tbsp water.
  8. When the chicken is done, add the remaining tbsp of mirin. Mix well and take it off the flame.
  9. In another pan, heat butter on low flame. Swirl the pan gently, until the butter starts turning brown. Keep the flame low, else your butter will be burnt instead of brown.
  10. As it takes on a lovely brown color, add garlic and fry for a few seconds.
  11. Add the drained spaghetti and toss well until nicely coated.
  12. Add chicken pieces and mix well.
  13. Serve as is or as a side.
Note: When boiling the noodles, I always add 1 tsp salt to the water. After draining, adding 1 tbsp olive oil keeps the noodles from sticking to each other and forming that unpalatable mass of mess you detest.




18 comments for “Mirin tossed chicken in brown butter spaghetti

  1. November 16, 2013 at 3:41 AM

    Oh Minnie, you must have been so proud of him. I am and I’ve never met him. When a ten year old boy can see that it’s wrong, how can old men deny it? Makes me sick to think about that little girl.

    This spaghetti looks very special and I hope your son got a big helping!
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef recently posted..Lamb Meatballs with Fruity CouscousMy Profile

  2. November 16, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    That spaghetti is calling my name my friend, it looks scrumptious 😀
    Your son is a wonderful boy already, that he can see this discrimination and feel so strongly means you should be very proud of him!

    Choc Chip Uru recently posted..Candy & Our Winner!My Profile

  3. November 16, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Never tried Spaghetti with brown butter! Sounds interesting and totally new to me 🙂 Many thanks for the post and those sunny, glamorous shots.
    nusrat2010 recently posted..The Marchant of HappinessMy Profile

  4. November 17, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    I’ve just googled ‘mirin’ and it sounds like an interesting ingredient, worth a try. There are still so many bad things happening to females in the world, i.e. bride burning, etc. I just hope that the family that you describe will eventually adapt to the culture of the U.S. and change their ways. Thanks for sharing!
    Fran @ G’day Souffle’ recently posted..Prickly Pear MargaritaMy Profile

    • November 19, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      Oops! Minnie, I assumed that you were blogging from the U.S.- that’s why I made the comment about “adapting to the culture of the U.S.” Please excuse me if I made the wrong assumption!
      Fran @ G’day Souffle’ recently posted..Prickly Pear MargaritaMy Profile

  5. November 17, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    It is so interesting that your son, as little he is, is able to see the unfairness as supposedly intelligent adults cannot see it or do not want to see the problem. Unfortunately we live in a world that is very unfair.
    As for this spaghetti with chicken in brown butter sauce looks delicious, only recently I been introduced to brown butter and I love it!
    Hope you are enjoying your weekend and have a great week ahead Minnie 😀

  6. November 18, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    Children have such a sense of what is fair and how wonderful that your boy saw how unfair the situation was. Are the chores divided more evenly now?

  7. November 18, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Lovely usage for mirin Minnie! I have a bottle and I bought it because I kept seeing recipes calling for it! Of course, I forgot to note any down and now that I have it all the recipes have vanished, so thanks for the inspiration with this lovely sounding meal!
    Charles recently posted..FiveEuroFood on the road – Adventures galore!My Profile

  8. November 18, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Mirin does wonders Love these brown butter sphagetti with chicken.
    swathi recently posted..Pataqueta; Valencia’ Orchard traditional bread for November Baking Partners challengeMy Profile

  9. November 19, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Well it took me all week, but here I am! I read your post in my email but just couldn’t get here to comment on how amazing your little boy is! Bravo. It is absolutely ridiculous how such inequality still exists in this time and day.
    I haven’t tried Mirin yet, but it sounds interesting. I always thought it was wine so never bought it. I will check on it again. The chicken and pasta look to die for yum!
    Coffee and Crumpets recently posted..Pear Blackberry CakeMy Profile

  10. November 19, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    It’s so great that your son tried to knock some sense into the sister’s brother and try to help him to see things from a different and more equitable viewpoint. However, it would seem that he is being brought up in a home where woman are regarded as second-class citizens. It’s very sad that there are people living in the US who have these views. You have done a great job, Minnie, in bringing up your son! And what a beautiful looking pasta xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..Flanagans Dining Room, Thirroul BeachMy Profile

  11. November 22, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    Spaghetti tossed with chicken looks tempting dear. Very healthy and yummy one pot meal.
    Chandrani recently posted..Dhaba Style Chicken Kasha ~ Cooking by My HubbyMy Profile

  12. November 22, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    Kudos to your little boy Minnie.. You must be feeling a real proud momma right now.. This dish looks so incredibly good.. Loved it 🙂
    Nilu A recently posted..Tuar Dal Khichdi / Lentil RiceMy Profile

  13. November 23, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    You must be raising your son right, Minnie! He’s 10 yet he can sense what’s wrong and right, and try to do the right thing. Amazing. My son is 7 now and I hope he’ll grow to be like that! So happy to see mirin in the recipe! Mirin has gives nice luster in grilling/cooking meat and fish (therefore, Teriyaki sauce always calls for mirin). I love using it in pasta too to season with soy sauce.
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Yellowtail Roll (Negihama Maki) ネギハマ巻きMy Profile

  14. November 25, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    I found the story of your son very interesting. It reminded me of growing up in the 50’s and 60’s. I had to wait on my brother hand and foot. He had no chores, I had many. I even had to wake him up every morning by taking him a cup of coffee. Thank goodness I met a man that grew up in household of 4 boys so he didn’t know about such discrimination and was shock when he saw it at my house.. I don’t even know your son, but I’m very proud of him! Now for the recipe – YUM! What a simple and delicious pasta dish! I have a bottle of mirin in the fridge but have never thought of using with with pasta. Great idea!
    mjskit recently posted..Multigrain Sandwich BreadMy Profile

  15. February 6, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    This story is really sad-but your son is such a sweetie!!

    and I looove this pasta dish-it looks so incredibly delicious!

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