Yuzu Kosho (Yuzu Chili Paste)

Yuzu Kosho

Hot sauce is my favorite condiment. Whether you’re talking Tapatio, Sriracha, or Blair’s Ultra Death, I love them all. You could put that stuff on crusty boot-leather and it would make it taste good. I mean what else can you think of that can be squirted onto airline food to make it palatable?

Yuzu Chili Paste

In the world of fruit though, my love for hot sauce is paralleled by citrus. That’s why yuzu kosho (yuzu chili paste) is perhaps my favorite hot sauce of them all. For those of you that have never had it, yuzu is a small Japanese citrus that tastes somewhere between Meyer lemon, grapefruit and lime. In Japan the zest is combined with green chili peppers to make a potent paste that not only adds heat, it adds a heavenly fragrance that goes with just about anything.

Yuzu Kosho

While yuzu kosho in paste form is concentrated and delicious, I like to add some citrus juice so you can use it as a sauce. Yuzu isn’t the easiest citrus to find, but you can get it in fall at Japanese supermarkets. If you can’t find yuzu, this is also delicious made with other citrus zests such as Meyer lemon, lime, or even orange.

Yuzu Kosho

Warning: These are some seriously potent chilis. After handling them, my hands literally felt like they were on fire for almost 24 hours. I’d recommend using gloves. If you happen to make the same mistake I did, scrubbing your hands with vegetable oil, then washing with dish soap helps a little.

Yuzu Kosho

2 green togarashi pepper (or 3 thai bird chilis)
6 green yuzu
1 teaspoon salt

Remove the seeds and white membrane from chili peppers. I recommend wearing gloves when doing this. Mince the chili’s as fine as you can make them. Use a microplane to zest the yuzu.

Place the chili, yuzu zest and salt in a mortar and pound with a pestle until it turns into a smooth paste. Add the juice from the yuzu and mix well until the sauce is the consistency you want it.

Because of the salt content it will keep for a month in the fridge, or longer if you freeze it.

  • http://theindolentcook.blogspot.com leaf (the indolent cook)

    This must have quite a nice kick to it! I love yuzu, though I don’t know if I’ve ever had the pleasure of sampling a fresh one.

  • Lemonsandanchovies

    I can’t ever eat anything without a condiment on the side, especially Asian dishes.  This one is new to me but it has already won me over with its citrus component.  Before I try to use my Meyer lemons, I will see if I can find yuzus in my area.  Thanks!

  • http://www.dinnersanddreams.net Nisrine M.

    I bet this tastes zestily fabulous. Will have to try it sometime. Hope all is well, Mark.

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    Its looks great! iNTERESTING HOW IT TASTE!

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    very green))))

  • http://www.kyotofoodie.com Michael

    You made yuzu kosho. Good going! I still have yet to make this one.

    I would like to try this made with Meyer lemon or other non-Japanese citrus. Could be interesting.

  • http://pickyin.blogspot.com Chang Pick Yin

    I love yuzu! Recently made a cheesecake with the zest and juice of ripe (yellow) ones. Heaven. Very difficult to find here in Singapore.

  • http://thesistown.com/ phd thesis

    Awesome and adorable!

  • Maggie G

    Thank you! I enjoyed this condiment a lot while living in Japan. Now, in the United States, I have to buy it online. I never thought of making it myself! SUPER!

  • Kristian M

    Thank you for posting this. I also enjoyed this when living in Japan, sometimes with sashimi and on top of nigiri sushi. I want to try to make yuzu kosho from my Meyer Lemons. They are starting to ripen, some are still green. Should I use them for yuzukosho while they still are green? I understand this is a point with the yuzu, that there is a differense in fragrance between green and ripe yuzu?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Yep the fragrance does change from green to ripe, however yuzu kosho is made both with green yuzu and ripe yuzu. Usually for green yuzu, they use green togarashi, and with ripe yuzu they make it with red togarashi. Green tends to be more intense than the ones made with ripe yuzu. I think that’s a great idea trying to use meyer lemons! I love their fragrance and think they’ll make a great condiment.

      • Kristian Misund

        Thanks! then I´ll try both types, green and ripe. I like your blue/grey noodle bowl by the way, I have the same one bought in Japan. I´ve just “discovered” your website and next up is trying out your wonton noodle soup. Have a good weekend! (from Norway)

      • Annie Nguyen

        Yuzu is it like as Thailand citrus ?

        • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

          Hi Annie, yuzu is quite different from kaffir lime taste wise, but you could do something similar to this using it.

  • Chef A

    I can’t get fresh yuzu, but I do have a bottle of Ponzu, fresh limes, lemons and oranges, and access to plenty of different kinds of fresh chili peppers. Would this recipe work, with which ingredients?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      It wouldn’t be yuzu kosho, but you could replace the yuzu zest with lemon or lime zest and make lemon chili or lime chili paste.

  • Earlene

    If I find fresh yuzu this fall will it work to zest and juice them and freeze in ice cube trays?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Earlene, great idea! Once you freeze the juice, I’d recommend taking the cubes out of the trays and transferring to a sealed container to prevent freezer burn.


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