Ponzu is the perfect addition to any dish. It adds an infusion of umami-rich salty and zesty flavor to anything you add it to. Ponzu is a classic and versatile citrus-based Japanese sauce. It is frequently mixed with soy sauce, which results in a sauce called ponzu-shoyu. In fact, most pre-made bottled ponzu sauces you’ll find in Japanese grocery stores, or even Asian grocery stores, are ponzu-shoyu. The soy sauce helps the delicate ponzu sauce stay fresh and delicious for longer.
How Is Ponzu Used?
How is ponzu typically used? It is traditionally used as a dipping sauce for shabu-shabu, tataki, soba or somen noodles, sashimi, and dumplings. For those who’ve never had shabu-shabu, the dish consists of a simmered stew where a medley of sliced cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, enoki mushrooms, and thin slices of meat rest in a shallow broth. Tataki is a dish of thinly sliced seared meat or fish where the outside gets nicely browned and grilled while the inside remains less cooked. Think seared tuna.
How Can I Cook With Ponzu?
Here are a few simple ideas for how you can incorporate ponzu into your cooking. Mix it into a dressing. Add a splash of ponzu, a little sesame oil, a bit of rice vinegar (if you like your dressing on the tart-side), and some olive oil. Feel free to adjust the proportions to taste. Add some black pepper and voila! A unique and zesty dressing. Add it to your usual salad mix or even use it to make a Japanese-inspired slaw. Top with sesame seeds for an extra hint of nuttiness and texture.
Ponzu also makes a great marinade for fish, particularly ceviche or poke, a Hawaiian dish similar to ceviche. Poke (pronounced poh-kay) translates to “slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of chopped raw, marinated fish. The most classic version of poke combines chunks of raw ahi tuna with a sauce made of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. What separates ceviche and poke is that ceviche is raw chunks of fish marinated in citrus juice. Though substituting ponzu sauce to make a poke or ceviche marinade would be just as delicious and easy too.
Topping your poke or ceviche bowl with a spoonful of Rayu Chili Oil with Crunchy Garlicis a must. You’ll love the subtle smoky kick of the chili paste with the addition of crunchy garlic pieces, toasted sesame, and almond pieces suspended in sesame oil. The combination of all these elements makes for a deeply satisfying deep, nutty flavor that pairs well with anything.
For the slightly more adventurous cook, these dishes are easy to whip up provided you’ve got the right ingredients on hand. Bokksu Market makes stocking your pantry and fridge with Asian grocery essentials an easy task. Instead of navigating around cramped Asian grocery aisles and waiting in long lines to check out, order groceries online without having to leave your home. Stock up delicious goods like Kikkomon’s Ponzu Sauce, a great starter sauce that makes incorporating ponzu into your cooking a snap. Add in other essentials like Nishiki Premium Rice, which makes a great accompaniment to any Japanese recipes you prepare.
But ponzu is accessible to cooks at all levels who prefer a less involved cooking style. As stated earlier, ponzu sauce on its own makes a great dipping sauce for pretty much anything: dumplings, tempura, noodles, grilled meats, or steamed vegetables or fish. You can even add ponzu sauce at the end of cooking to brighten up any soup or stew, or even stir-fries. If you love citrus sauces, you’ll find yourself adding ponzu to everything. Zest up your cooking and experiment with all the ways you can incorporate ponzu into your dishes.