Spotlight on Ponzu Sauce

Ponzu is a popular ingredient in Japanese cooking that is only beginning to take its rightful place in American kitchens. If you love Japanese food, you have likely had ponzu sauce in your favorite dishes. It is used in many different ways, from marinades to dipping sauces, and has a taste that is very distinctive. Here’s what you need to know about ponzu sauce and how you can use it in your cooking—and how your favorite Japanese restaurant may be using it in theirs.


What is ponzu sauce?

Ponzu sauce looks similar to soy sauce, but it tastes very different. It is made from rice wine, rice vinegar, bonito fish flakes, seaweed, and citrus fruit. Typically, yuzu is used in ponzu sauce, but it is sometimes made with kabosu, daidai, and sudachi. The citrus fruit is added at the end, after the ingredients have been combined and heated together, then it is strained. This means that the citrus flavor is prominent. Describing the taste of ponzu is difficult, because it has sweet, sour, salty, and bitter flavors all at once. These complex flavors explain why it is used in so many different ways.


How is ponzu sauce used?

There are endless uses for ponzu sauce. Many people incorporate it into marinades for chicken, fish, beef, and vegetables. It is also sometimes used as a dipping sauce on its own for nabe and shabu shabu. Ponzu shoyu is a popular dipping sauce that combines ponzu and soy sauce that is used to sashimi and other fish dishes. Sprinkling ponzu on rice is a popular way of giving it some additional flavor. If you want to combine ponzu into Western dishes, it makes a good substitute for Worcester sauce. Try it with steak or oysters.


Try more tastes of Japan with a visit to House of Genji. We offer traditional teppanyaki dining in San Jose, plus lots of other Japanese favorites on our menu. Learn more about the restaurant and our hours by calling  (408) 453-8120.

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