Yuzu is the ingredient you will want to add to everything. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit with an intense floral aroma and the tartness of lime, making it unsuitable for plain consumption. Yuzu has a unique fragrance that is hard to completely pin down, floral with notes of honey and lemon blossom are some ways to describe it. Once you try it, you will never want to go back to basic lemon ever again.
How is yuzu commonly used? Yuzu is a key ingredient in ponzu, a yuzu sauce of yuzu juice and soy sauce, and yuzu kosho, a spicy blend of chilies, zest, and salt. In cooking, yuzu juice is used to brighten up a dish with its acidity. The zest is applied as an accent to cooked vegetables, hot pots, custards, and fish, and is sometimes used to infuse miso or tea leaves. Yuzu also makes a common addition to dressings, sauces, marinades, and even cocktails. A little of the juice and zest packs quite a flavor punch.
Next time you’re tossing together a salad, swap out your usual dressing for a yuzu dressing. Kewpie’s Yuzu & Kosho Pepper Dressing incorporates yuzu kosho for a spicy kick and a citrusy tang. But don’t just stop at the salad bowl, you can use this dressing as a marinade for fish, chicken, beef, pork, and even veggies. It also makes a great sauce for cold noodles like hiyashi chuka, a cold ramen dish topped with shrimp, imitation crab, sliced cucumbers and carrots, and chopped egg omelet.
Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can make your own yuzu kosho dressing. Simply add a bit of Ocean Food’s Yuzu Kosho to taste, a splash of rice vinegar, olive oil, a little bit of toasted sesame oil (we like Kadoya’s version), salt and pepper to taste, and honey or sugar. Whisk all the ingredients together for a light dressing that is packed with flavor. Use this vinaigrette on salads or even on fish. The delicate flavor of scallops would pair very nicely with the fragrant citrus and nutty roasted flavors of the vinaigrette.
But, yuzu kosho’s uses extend beyond just dressings and yuzu sauces. You can add it to almost anything to brighten up a dish or cut through rich heavy dishes. Use it as a rub by combining it with crushed garlic and before adding it to meat. Or take it a step further and make a yuzu pesto. Combine yuzu kosho, peeled and chopped ginger, garlic, lemongrass, cilantro, olive oil, mirin, and a splash of soy sauce and mix together in a bowl. Add this delicious yuzu pesto paste onto the protein or vegetable of your choice.
You can even mix a little into soups and stews for a hit of bright citrus flavor. Try it on miso soup or ramen. We recommend shio, salt-based, or shoyu, soy-based, ramen for best results. Another fun idea is making a yuzu kosho aglio olio pasta. Prepare the aglio olio as usual, but mix some yuzu kosho into the reserved pasta water before combining it with the cooled olive oil. If you want to add some more Japanese flair, top it with some furikake, a rice seasoning mix of nori and bonito flakes, and shichimi togarashi, a seven-spice blend.
If you want to get a taste of yuzu without having to turn on the stove or dirty any pots and pans, try some of these Japanese snacks. On the beverage side, we suggest Kimino’s Sparkling Yuzu Juice, a refreshing juice that allows you to get a pure taste of the fruit itself. For the savory fiends, Calbee’s Yuzu Pepper Shrimp Chips make a great accompaniment to any TV binge sessions or movie times. Sweet-lovers will love Kasugai’s Yuzu Gummies, which are the perfect balance of tart, sweet, and chewy. These Japanese snacks are a great way to taste yuzu without too much effort in the kitchen.
If you’re looking for even more ways to bring the fruity floral flavor notes of citrus into your home, Bokksu Market makes it easy. Say goodbye to long wait times to check out at the Asian grocery near you. Order groceries online with ease. Bokksu Market has a variety of yuzu snacks and beverages, as well as the yuzu products mentioned above. Get a taste of yuzu delivered straight to your door today.
By Melanie Totenberg