Yuzu Kosho: Your New Favorite Japanese Condiment

This zesty-spicy Japanese condiment may have been flying under your radar, but it’s sure to become a staple in your pantry once you’ve had a taste.

What Does Yuzu Kosho Taste Like?

The simplest way to describe yuzu kosho’s flavor is tangy, spicy, and salty, but it’s also more than that. It’s a balance of floral citrusy yuzu and pungent kicky chilies with the rich umami quality that naturally comes when you combine fermentation and salt.

How is Yuzu Kosho Made?

Yuzu kosho is a paste made from mashed togarashi peppers fermented with sea salt and the zest and juice of yuzu. True togarashi peppers can be hard to come by, so it’s often made with Thai or bird’s eye chili instead.

Red Yuzu Kosho vs. Green Yuzu Kosho

There are two major variations of yuzu kosho. Green yuzu kosho, which is made with unripe yuzu and green chilies, is coarser with a bright, grassy flavor and a sharper spiciness. Red yuzu kosho, which is made with ripe yuzu and red chilies, has a more distinctive citrus flavor with a more subdued but lingering spice.

What to do with Yuzu Kosho?

Yuzu kosho can be used both in cooking and as a condiment. It makes a great substitute for classic wasabi or karashi (japanese mustard) when you feel like switching things up. A little yuzu kosho can go a long way when added to a bowl of kitsune udon or soy braised short ribs. Its combination of spicy-citrusy-salty can make both rich and delicate flavor profiles pop. It’s also a favorite dipping sauce for nabe or Japanese hot pot. Try swapping the ponzu + togarashi dip from our mizutaki with some yuzu kosho.

When cooking with yuzu kosho, the sky’s the limit. It pairs well with practically any meat, seafood, or vegetable. Try adding a little yuzu kosho to your tahini miso tofu or beef teriyaki for a subtle but instantly noticeable change. You don’t have to stop at Japanese cuisine, either. Try this lively condiment with buttery baked flounder, vinegar chicken, or even in the marinade for Mongolian beef.

Feature Image: Flickr user 305 SeahillCC BY-ND 2.0 )

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