Making Yuzukoshō FTW!

Yuzukoshō is most familiar as green, sublime speckles of heaven on sushi.  Add a dash of ponzu sauce and hello foodgasm!

Yuzukoshō is made from the peel of Yuzu, a specific type of citrus, “koshō” (chills), and salt.

Recipe after the jump 🙂

Yuzukoshō is also served on skewers of grilled meat and vegetables or Kushiyaki in Japanese styled tapas, Izakaya dinning.  The paste has such a tart, bright, and intense flavor and it can add depth to many food items like steak, soup, and cooked seafood.

I recently bought a tiny 0.5 oz tube of Yuzukoshō paste at a Japanese market and I wanted to inhale it.  I was hooked and had to get more.  I scoured Asian markets in my neighborhood but my search met with disappointment.  I didn’t want to pay marked up prices to have it shipped.  Luckily, I found this Original Recipe.  It turns out that this paste is pretty easy to make.  Win win.

Below are the steps that I took to make Yuzukoshō for the first time.  The result was fantastic.  I used lime and 1 lemon so this isn’t a true yuzu paste, but it’s pretty great.

Ingredients (yields 1 1/2 teaspoon paste)

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 green Anaheim (Magdalena) chilis
  • 4  medium limes
  • 1 small lemon

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Equipment:

  • small food processor
  • microplane
  • mortar and pestle
  • paring knife

Instructions:

Using a microplane, lightly zest the limes and lemon.  Be careful to zest only the parts of the skin with color, avoiding shaving too closely into the white rind.  The white rind is quite bitter and this flavor will end up in your paste.

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In absence of a  proper mortar and pestle, I made do with a bowl and the round end of a wooden citrus juicer.

Add 1 teaspoon of salt, adding in increments if desired for taste.

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With a paring knife, cut each chili in half lengthwise and remove seeds and white pit.  2 Anaheim chilis creates a medium spice.  For less spice, substitute jalepeno peppers.  For more spice, use 4 Anaheim chilis.  In my opinion, the most pronounced note should come from the citrus rather than the spice.

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A food processor will help grind the peppers, although most of the work will be done by hand.

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Add the chilies to the citrus zest and salt in increments, tasting as you mush along.

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Cut the lemon into sections and add lemon juice (without the seed) in increments as you continue to grind the paste.  Here, I used the juice of 3/4 of a medium lemon since I wanted a thick rather than watery paste but more can definitely be added to taste.  Like Mark’s original recipe, Yuzu Kosho paste can be made with a variety of citrus and different combinations of citrus.  You can add juice from lime or even orange instead.  The liquid from the juice really helps bind the separate dry specs of chili and zest together to create a paste.  Most of the “bright” flavor comes from adding juice, without it the zest alone can be a bit dull.

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It seems like a lot of work to make such little paste but even a smidge goes a long way.  I can’t wait to experiment with adding Yuzu Kosho paste to my dishes.  I’ll experiment with making the paste with more lemons and with oranges too.

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