If I had to pick two condiments to take to a desert island with me, my choices just might be rice vinegar and ponzu. Sriracha is a close third, and the Kewpie baby might be my number four.
But back to the ponzu—it’s so versatile. I love it over noodles, and as a dipping sauce… it’s citrusey salty-soy goodness is perfect for quick, bright meals. Since the bottled version is often made with tons of additives, I set out to make my own. Turns out, it’s surprisingly easy. After a number of experiments, I figured out that meyer lemon replicates the (traditional) yuzu flavor the closest (but by all means if you have fresh yuzus available to you – use those). I contributed this recipe last week to Food 52, so I thought I’d share it here today.
And since we’re all probably Thanksgiving-ed out, here are some light & bright dishes that would be great with the addition of fresh ponzu:
No worries if you’re vegetarian, the bonito added an awesome smoky flavor, but it tasted closer to bottled ponzu right before I added it.
- 1 piece kombu, (about 2 x 2 inches)
- 3 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons organic shoyu
- ½ tablespoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon mirin (optional)
- 1 tablespoon bonito flakes (optional)
- Lightly rinse the kombu and place in a small bowl along with the meyer lemon juice, shoyu, rice vinegar, and mirin. Cover and let sit for at least a few hours, but preferably overnight.
- For a vegetarian ponzu, stop here. Otherwise add the bonito flakes, let sit for a few minutes and strain. (If you want extra smoky ponzu, you can add the bonito in step 1).
- Enjoy ponzu tossed with soba noodles, or as a dipping sauce with lettuce wraps or summer rolls. Stored in the refrigerator, it'll keep for at least a few months.
Loosely adapted from Tsuji’s Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art