Hi I was wondering what the uses of chinese cooking wine is? And does it differ a lot to mirin?
This doesn't answer your question, but slightly related: when a recipe calls for Chinese cooking wine, I just substitute white wine. It's one less specialized ingredient to buy, store, and eventually throw out when I don't use it in a timely manner :)
Sake is a Japanese rice wine with a serious alcohol impact, described in my reference as 'quite sweet.' Mirin, the book says, is a 'sweet cooking sake with a light delicate flavour and a low alcohol content.' Sugar is added to mirin. Then there is Shaoxing Rice Wine from China -- 'rich mellow flavor...popular for cooking and drinking.' (Cooking Ingredients, Christine Ingram)
I have a Chinese cooking wine called YuYee, which I assume comes from another area. It is clear and mild, slightly sweet. The photo of the Shaoxing Wine shows it as having the deepest color of all of them, almost orange.
I also use dry or sweet vermouth as a substitute. The rice wines are usually used in sauces where there are strong flavored ingredients, so I think you can get away with substitutions.
dry sherry. i keep it in the fridge for months and it's the perfect substitute.
sorry i should have actually read your question. you use it as you would any other wine in a recipe, for conducting flavor, reducing to concentrate sauces, deglazing, and so on. i do though think you would use less of it that you would, say, white wine in a pasta sauce, since its taste is pretty potent.