Yuzu Kosho (柚子胡椒) is a hot and citrusy Japanese condiment. Made with fresh yuzu zest and togarashi chili peppers, this chili paste is easy to make and delicious.
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?
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.
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.
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.
- 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.