Yuzu-kosho is my favorite Japanese condiment, in fact, one of my all time favorite condiments. In Japan, you might stir a little into porky ramen, or use it to flavor fish or fried chicken. I use it on anything I can, including sandwiches and bowls of plain rice. Get ready for this to become the next trendy condiment!
A paste of yuzu citrus, green chiles and salt seems easy enough to make at home: the problem is, yuzu is extremely hard to find in the US, and even if you are lucky enough to come across one, it can cost four or five dollars for one little fruit! There is nothing quite like the perfume of yuzu, but Meyer lemon comes close. Its taste is not the same, but it is similarly aromatic and sweet-tangy. I use the juice in place of yuzu to make ponzu sauce, so why not use the zest to make yuzu-kosho?
Guess what? Even with Meyer lemon as a substitute this is WAAAAYYY better that the little jars of the stuff you can buy in a Japanese grocery (and I thought those were amazing). The flavor is most intense when it's freshly made, and mellows as the days and weeks pass. Mine is at three weeks and still good—the salt is a strong preservative.
This recipe takes about 10 minutes with a food processor (to make this by hand, grate the zest instead of peeling it, and finely mince the pepper, then mash it together it with a wooden spoon or mortar and pestle). The 4–inch long green mildly spicy chiles, often known as Korean Hot Peppers, are not hard to find in Asian markets and even some large supermarkets. Serrano or Jalapeño should make an adequate substitute, though a bit more spicy.
The best thing about this recipe is: you can get a taste of yuzu kosho even if you live nowhere near a Japanese market (and you'll be able to say you were making yuzu-kosho before anyone else had even heard of it).
Meyer Lemon Kosho (Yuzu-Kosho) Recipe
- 4 Meyer lemons
- 3 Korean hot green peppers
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the zest from lemons, getting as little of the white pith as possible. Reserve the fruit to juice for another purpose (such as this salad dressing). Put the lemon peel in a food processor.
2. Halve the peppers. Remove the stems, seeds and pith. Add them to the food processor with the lemon peel.
3. Add the salt, and process until the ingredients are evenly pulverized into a paste. Transfer to a small glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
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