Homemade Ponzu

meyer lemon ponzu / @loveandlemons

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 ponzuit’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:

ponzu-friendly recipe roundup / @loveandlemons

Recipe links:
Sesame Clementine & Chopped Cabbage Salad

Ginger Citrus Soba with Snow Peas
Peanut Soba Spring Rolls
Mushroom Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
Miso Citrus Cod with Bok Choy 

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.

meyer lemon ponzu

Serves: about ½ cup
  • 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)
  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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


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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.