What You Need to Know About Yuzu Kosho, The Flavorful Citrus Condiment

Yuzu Kosho Top Image

With a sharp tangy taste and a little bit of spicy kick, yuzu kosho is the new trendy condiment that is loved by many chefs. Although it might be hard to obtain, this condiment is so simple, you can easily make it at home. Here’s all you need to know about this versatile condiment.

Yuzu Kosho

First thing first, what is yuzu kosho?

Yuzu kosho is an all purpose citrus chili paste that originates in Japan. The beauty of yuzu kosho lies in the simplicity of it. This condiment consists only of yuzu zest, chili, and salt, yet it is very flavorful and fragrant. As a condiment, yuzu kosho is relatively versatile and can be used to enhance a range of dishes. You can use yuzu kosho as a glaze, dressing, or added to a broth.



What Is Yuzu Kosho?

Yuzu kosho originated in Oita Prefecture. It is generally a popular seasoning in Northern Kyushu area (including Oita). In Kyushu, people would use yuzu kosho to cook hot pot, noodle, miso soup, or even sashimi.

The color of yuzu kosho is usually green due to its use of unripe green yuzu zest. But red yuzu kosho is also common in Japan. Red yuzu kosho uses ripe yuzu zest and red chili pepper as the main ingredient.



A Little Bit About Japanese Yuzu

Yuzu is a type of citrus fruit. It originally came from central China and was introduced to Japan and Korea during the reign of Tang dynasty.



Japanese Yuzu

Yuzu is green when unripe but it will have a yellow color once it is ripe. The skin is textured and uneven. Yuzu also has big seeds, thick skin, and a fragrant smell. In size, yuzu is slightly bigger than mandarin orange but smaller than a grapefruit. Green yuzu can be harvested around July to October, while ripe yellow yuzu can be harvested around October to December.

Like lemon, yuzu has a very citrusy sour taste. But yuzu tastes slightly different since it has a tart taste resembling more of a grapefruit than orange or lemon. The aroma of yuzu is also very prominent. Making it great for seasoning food. In Japan, you can easily find condiments like yuzu sauce, yuzu shichimi, yuzu salt, yuzu miso, and multiple others.

Right now there are multiple countries outside Japan that have successfully cultivated yuzu in their regions such as Australia and US. You can even buy yuzu plants in UK that have been grafted to a rootstock in order to be more suitable for European climates.

What Does It Taste Like?

Yuzu kosho is a burst of flavor explosion. It’s acidic, savory, and has a little tingle from the chili. Because of its tangy and fresh flavor profile, yuzu kosho goes really well with multiple types of protein. It can add that little twist of flavor and cuts through the heaviness of meat.

A little bit of yuzu kosho goes a long way. Since yuzu kosho is already packed with punchy flavor, a little amount is enough to spice up your dish. It’s also important to be mindful of how much salt you add to the dish because yuzu kosho itself is already salty.

Some Great Uses of Yuzu Kosho

If you’re not sure how to use yuzu kosho, here are some of the best yuzu kosho uses for inspiration.

Yuzu Kosho as Dipping Sauce
Use As Dipping Sauce
Yuzu kosho is a great addition as a dipping sauce for a snack. Just add a tiny dollop of it on the side of your preferred dish.
Yuzu Kosho In Hot Pot
Hot Pot
What better ways to make your hot pot more flavorful than adding a little bit of yuzu kosho. Yuzu kosho will also eliminate the meat odor and give the hot pot a fragrant citrusy aroma. Add yuzu kosho after the hot pot is cooked instead of during the boiling. If you’d like a stronger taste, add the yuzu kosho after you move the hot pot to your bowl.
Yuzu Kosho Pasta
Pasta
Make your own Japanese style peperoncino pasta by replacing plain chili with yuzu kosho. Add just a small amount. This way, yuzu kosho flavor will be an accent to the pasta and won’t overwhelm the whole dish.
Yuzu Kosho And Roasted Food
Roasted Food
Yuzu kosho can act as a marinade. Due to its pasty consistency, it is easy to spread on your favorite protein such as chicken, fish, or pork. Before roasting, spread yuzu kosho on the meat and let it sit for a while before roasting.
Yuzu Kosho As Salad Dressing
Salad Dressing
When making a salad with yuzu kosho, you can use ponzu vinegar and mix them with olive oil. Add just a small amount of yuzu kosho to the dressing mix. If you like a more punchy flavor, you can always add more of it.
Sauteed Dish
Sauteed Dish
Using yuzu kosho as a seasoning in a sauteed dish is a great idea. Adding too much heat to yuzu kosho may evaporate the aroma, that is why it is a good idea to put yuzu kosho lastly to the saute.
Yuzu Kosho in Soumen
Soumen
Soumen is japanese thin noodles made from wheat flour. The combination of soumen broth and yuzu kosho will be the perfect refreshing dish to enjoy during summertime.

How to Make Yuzu Kosho

Although yuzu kosho is often sold premade in Japan, they are very easy to make at home.

Yuzu kosho only consists of three ingredients: yuzu zest, chili, and salt. However, yuzu is rather hard to obtain especially if you don’t live in Japan. When you cannot find yuzu, other citrus such as lemon, lime, or grapefruit is a great substitute.

Yuzu Kosho Recipe

In this recipe, we’ll use a 50-50 percentage of chili and yuzu zest. You can up the chili percentage if you want it to be spicier or lower the chili percentage if you want the citrus taste to take over.
Serving Size4Person
Cooking Time25Minutes
Yuzu Kosho Recipe Image

Ingredients

Bird’s eye chili ( Can be substituted with serrano pepper or habanero)
80gr
Yuzu zest (or other citrus zest)
80gr
Salt
16gr (ideally 10% weight of chili and zest combined)

How to Make

1
Destem the chili and take out the seeds. Cut the chili very finely and grind them in mortar and pestle. If you don’t have mortar and pestle, a food processor or blender will work just fine.
2
Then, we can start to zest the yuzu with a microplane. If you don’t use yuzu zest, you can mix multiple citrus zests to mimic yuzu taste. To get 80 gram of yuzu zest, we need to zest about 12-16 pieces of yuzu.
3
Mix the chili paste, yuzu zest, and salt. Yuzu kosho is done and ready to use!
4
If you’d like to ferment it, put the paste in an airtight container and ferment for a week.

Recipes Using Yuzu Kosho

Chicken Sandwich With Yuzu Kosho Mayonnaise

Sandwiches are great for lunch boxes but they can be a little bit mundane as is. Why not enhance them with yuzu kosho mayonnaise!
Serving Size2Person
Cooking Time30Minutes
Chicken Sandwich Yuzu Kosho Mayo Recipe Image

Ingredients

Bread
4 Slice
Butter
5gr
Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp
Yuzu Kosho
1 Tbsp
Tomato
2 Slices
Chicken Fillet
2 pieces (200gr)
Corn Starch
4 Tbsp
Oil for Frying
As needed
Garlic
1 Clove
Grated Ginger
¼ Tsp
Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp
Salt & Pepper
As needed

How to Make

1
Make yuzu kosho mayonnaise by adding 1 teaspoon of yuzu kosho into 2 tablespoon of mayonnaise. We’ll use this mayonnaise later.
2
Make the chicken marinade by mixing soy sauce with grated ginger, grated garlic, salt, and pepper. Marinade the raw chicken cutlet with this mix and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
3
After marination, bread the chicken with corn starch, and deep fry it until golden brown.
4
Toast the inside of the bread slices with butter.
5
Assemble the sandwich by spreading yuzu kosho mayonnaise on the bread, add tomato and lettuce, chicken cutlet, and close the sandwich with another slice of bread.


Japanese Style Salmon Meunière With Yuzu Kosho Sauce

Meunière is a term to describe a french cooking technique where flour is used to dredge the main ingredient before cooking it in the frying pan.
Serving Size2Person
Cooking Time20Minutes
Japanese Style Salmon Meunière With Yuzu Kosho Sauce Image

Ingredients

Fresh Salmon Fillet
2 Pieces
Butter
10gr
Salt & Pepper
As needed
All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp
Yuzu Kosho
1 Tbsp
Mayonnaise
3 Tbsp
Lemon or Yuzu Juice
1 Tbsp
Fish or Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp

How to Make

1
Prepare the salmon with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
2
Dredge the salmon pieces with all purpose flour until fully coated.
3
Now, prepare the sauce. Mix yuzu kosho, mayonnaise, lemon (or yuzu) juice, and your preferred stock. Stir well until the ingredients are well incorporated.
4
Melt butter on the frying pan and cook the dredged salmon over medium high heat until it has a crispy exterior. Make sure to flip and cook both sides thoroughly.
5
After the fish is fully cooked, move it to a plate and spoon the sauce on top of the fish.
6
You can serve the dish with potato wedges and veggies.


Yuzu Kosho Fried RIce

A great recipe to turn leftover rice into a delicious dish!
Serving Size2Person
Cooking Time20Minutes
Yuzu Kosho Fried Rice

Ingredients

Rice
300gr
Chopped Onion
100gr
Chopped Garlic
1 Clove
Eggs
2
Oil
2 Tbsp
Yuzu Kosho
½ Tsp
Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp
Salt
½ Tsp
Pepper
One Pinch
Chopped Spring Onion
40gr
Ham cut into cubes (Can be replaced with bacon, chicken, sausages)
100gr

How to Make

1
Mix half a teaspoon of yuzu kosho with 2 tablespoon of soy sauce. Put it aside because we’re going to use it later.
2
Turn on the stove. Add oil to a pan and chopped onion, stir until aromatic. Then, add garlic. Stir a little more. After the aroma grows stronger, add the rice.
3
Next, add 2 beaten eggs to the rice. Stir until all grains are fully coated with egg.
4
Add a pinch of salt and pepper for taste, then add the yuzu kosho soy sauce mix. Stir well.
5
Lastly add the ham and spring onion. Stir a little more
6
Yuzu kosho fried rice is ready to eat.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does yuzu kosho last?
Freshly homemade yuzu kosho may last up to 3 months refrigerated in an airtight container. But manufactured yuzu kosho may last up to a year after production.
How to properly store yuzu kosho?
Keep away from direct sunlight and store at room temperature. After opening, keep yuzu kosho in the refrigerator.
What is the difference between green yuzu kosho and red yuzu kosho?
Green yuzu kosho uses unripe yuzu (they are green in color) and green chili as its main ingredient. On the other hand, red yuzu kosho uses ripe yellow yuzu and red chili as the main ingredient.

Taste wise, there is a little difference between the two. Green yuzu kosho has a fresh and sharper taste. While red yuzu kosho has a rather mature fragrance due to its use of ripe yuzu and a more pronounced umami flavor of red chili.
Can I make yuzu kosho with green yuzu and red chili?
Of course! One of the charms of homemade yuzu kosho is the fact that you can adjust it however you want. Just make sure to use a properly hot chili pepper instead of mild chili pepper.
Is there a health benefit of yuzu kosho?
Yuzu kosho contains a lot of capsaicin, which activates metabolism and is rich in vitamin C.

Although, people tend to use a very small amount of yuzu kosho, so it won’t significantly affect your body. But, both chili and yuzu are said to have blood flow improving effects so it can be expected that yuzu kosho is not harmful and generally good for your body.
I can’t find yuzu in my area, can I replace yuzu when making yuzu kosho?
Yes, other citruses work just fine! It won’t taste exactly the same, but it’s pretty close.
Where can I buy yuzu kosho?
You can buy yuzu kosho online, most specialty shops that sell Japanese ingredients have them.
Is yuzu easy to obtain outside Japan?
Unfortunately right now yuzu is still very limited outside Japan. Although if you live in the US or Australia, you can obtain them from a local yuzu farm.

Recommended Products