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Monday, July 25, 2016

Yuzu Kosho

Yuzu Kosho is a powerhouse condiment and another specialty of Kyushu I wanted to share with you. A simple but inspired paste of yuzu zest, chili peppers, and salt, there are two types depending on whether red or green chili peppers were used.

My mother, who by the way I just realized doesn't have a nickname (Mama Mochi?), really fell in love with this condiment when we were served it with a hot pot dish. Being served as a condiment for nabemono, or hot pot cooking, is definitely the most traditional usage for yuzu kosho, but it is versatile and especially delicious as an ingredient in sauces for grilled meats or even salads.

As stated above, there are two types of yuzu kosho: green (ao) and red (aka). I happen to think the green is a bit sharper than the red, but I urge you to try them both and draw your own conclusions, as there doesn't seem to be a consensus on the difference between the two besides color. Both of them are a magical mixture of floral, spicy, citrusy notes that make wonder why every culture doesn't have a chili citrus paste in its repertoire.

Yuzu kosho is sold in very tiny quantities normally
This is a condiment that still isn't widely seen outside of hot pot restaurants, but it is having its moment, with publications like Bon Appetit and Saveur both publishing articles extolling its virtues with recipes in tow.

You'll find it at any well-stocked Japanese market, but it might take a bit of searching as it is generally purchased in a tiny little jar the photo on the right. This paste is normally dabbed on pieces of simmered hot pot ingredients, however it can be thinned and used to brighten up sauces or included in a marinade.

Marinate and grill a steak with it, make a spicy fresh vinaigrette, top fresh grilled seafood with it, spice up your noodles dishes, this condiment is so enlivening to so many dishes apparently it has even made its way into the arena of desserts!

Here's a list of recipes that include yuzu kosho on this site:
Mizuna, Apple, and Jicama salad with Yuzu Kosho Vinaigrette
Negima Nabe
Yuzu Kosho Bloody Mary


  1. It's also excellent on grilled meat, I think that may be the Tokyo way to eat it, since my friend who sent me some told me to eat it that way. I just love it!

    1. Absolutely! On grilled seafood or steak it is delicious! I've even seen some yakitori with it. It is so versatile!

  2. I am totally obsessed with yuzu! I needed a refresh on your yuzu kosho review and just saw your reply. We recently tried yuzu kosho on apples!!! So good!!! And I got some yuzu potato chips at Tokyo Central (I'm an OC girl too) and they were Too Die For!!! I also bought the $9 mini bottle of yuzu juice and have been using it in cocktails. Totally worth the investment. I really hope one day to have a yuzu tree so I can make my own ponzu and yuzu kosho. :)

    1. Okay I am totally going to need to try yuzu kosho on apples, as well as hunt down those yuzu potato chips!!!

      I'd love a yuzu tree as well. I'm lucky my parents have orange, kumquat, and tangelo trees along with some trees not-citrus, but I'd love a yuzu at my place.