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With a sharp tangy taste and a little bit of spicy kick, yuzu kosho is the new trendy condiment loved by many. Although it might be hard to obtain, this condiment is so simple that you can easily replicate at home. Here’s all you need to know about Yuzu Kosho, read on to find out more!

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 of yuzu zest, chilli, and salt, yet creates a memorable depth and fragrance to every dish. Yuzu kosho is relatively versatile and can be used as a glaze, dressing, or added to a broth to enhance a range of dishes.

What Is Yuzu Kosho?

Yuzu kosho originates from Oita Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu Japan. Till today, people of Northern Kyushu vouch for this staple in their kitchens. Yuzu kosho is used for hot pot (nabe), noodles, miso soup, sushi and sashimi, among several other things to add a palatable finish. We love how it weaves seamlessly on pretty much anything, yes even on avocado toast!

The color of yuzu kosho is usually green due to the use of unripe green yuzu zest. Red yuzu kosho is also common in Japan to which ripe yuzu zest and red chili pepper are used as the main ingredients.



A Little Bit About Japanese Yuzu

Yuzu is an aromatic citrus fruit that has its roots from central China. It was later 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.

How does Yuzu Kosho taste like?

A little yuzu kosho goes a long way. The citrusy fresh flavour complements the modest bitterness from the yuzu peel. This condiment pack a punch with the sophisticated combination of acidity, savouriness and spice.

The tangy and fresh flavour profile of yuzu kosho goes well with multiple types of protein. Yuzu kosho weaves beautifully into the layers of meat, adding a little twist of flavour and cutting through the unabating tang of meat. There is also no need to be generous with salt as yuzu kosho itself is already salty. You can rely on Yuzu kosho for the burst of umami.

Red Yuzu Kosho vs. Green Yuzu Kosho

red vs green yuzukosho

Green Yuzu Kosho uses unripe yuzu (green in color) and green chilli as the main ingredients. Red Yuzu Kosho uses ripe yellow yuzu and red chilli as the main ingredients. Yuzu Kosho is generally used not only as a condiment, but also to add an accent to enhance a range of dishes.

Taste wise, green Yuzu Kosho is fresher and sharper whereas red Yuzu Kosho has a mature fragrance and tartness due to the use of ripe yuzu and a more pronounced umami flavour of red chillies. Needless to say, it's a necessary addition to your repertoire!

The difference in Green Yuzu Kosho and Red Yuzu Kosho aren't tremendous, but it can certainly play distinct roles. Green Yuzu Kosho can be used as a wasabi substitute. For instance, pair it with sashimi, yakitori, somen soup, carpaccio, miso soup, peperoncino, or with butter to make toast or rusks. Additionally, Green Yuzu Kosho goes very well with soy sauce and olive oil. Red Yuzu Kosho on the other hand, is a great mustard substitute. Fundamentally, it uses ripe ingredients and is recommended for hot dishes. Therefore, it goes well with natto, oden, udon, motsunabe, pork soup, gyoza sauce, ajillo and more.

Some Great Uses of Yuzu Kosho

You may be wondering how to embody Yuzu Kosho in your everyday kitchen wonder. Here's the ultimate guide on how to get creative with yuzu kosho!

Yuzu Kosho as Dipping Sauce
Use as Dipping Sauce
Yuzu Kosho is an exceptional element for a great dipping sauce. Add a tiny drop onto your preferred dish to raise the bar!
Yuzu Kosho In Hot Pot
Hot Pot
What better ways to make your hot pot more flavourful than adding a little bit of yuzu Kosho? Yuzu Kosho not only eliminates the brawny meat odour, but also supplements a fragrant citrusy aroma to the hot pot. Simply finish off the dish with Yuzu Kosho when the hot pot is ready to serve, or gourmandise it more on your plate.
Yuzu Kosho Pasta
Pasta
We're looking at one of the most versatile foods of all and everything that goes with it: pasta! Make your own Japanese style peperoncino pasta by replacing plain chilli with Yuzu Kosho. A small amount will immediately play centre role as an accent without overwhelming the entire dish. Now that's well played!
Yuzu Kosho And Roasted Food
Roasted Food
Undoubtedly the best marinade to make your protein foods incredibly moist and outrageously delicious. Yuzu Kosho makes an amazing marinade due to its pasty consistency and fresh punch. Simply spread them onto chicken, fish, or pork and let sit for awhile before cooking. Great for roasting and grilling too!
Yuzu Kosho As Salad Dressing
Salad Dressing
When making salad with Yuzu Kosho, you can combine ponzu vinegar and mix with some olive oil. Add just a small amount of yuzu kosho to the dressing mix. If you like a more punchy flavour, you can always be bold with it.
Sauteed Dish
Sautéed Dish
It's never a bad idea to use Yuzu Kosho as a seasoning for any sautéed dish. Though, adding too much heat to Yuzu Kosho may evaporate the aroma so it's best to use Yuzu Kosho as the second to last ingredient to preserve its piquant properties.
Yuzu Kosho in Soumen
Soumen
Soumen is Japanese thin noodles made from wheat flour. The combination of soumen broth and yuzu kosho is the perfect culinary adventure for a refreshing summertime.

How to Make Yuzu Kosho

Yuzu kosho is readily available across Japan. But don't be disheartened if it's difficult to obtain Yuzu Kosho where you are! In this section, we'll introduce a simple and easy-to-follow recipe for Yuzu Kosho.

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.


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Recipes Using Yuzu Kosho

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Frequently Asked Questions About Yuzu Kosho

How long does yuzu kosho last?
Freshly homemade yuzu kosho may last up to 3 months refrigerated in an airtight container. 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 (green in color) and green chilli as the main ingredients. Red Yuzu Kosho however, uses ripe yellow yuzu and red chilli as the main ingredients.

Taste wise, green Yuzu Kosho is fresher and sharper whereas red Yuzu Kosho has a mature fragrance due to the use of ripe yuzu and a more pronounced umami flavour from red chillies.
Can I make yuzu kosho with green yuzu and red chili?
Of course! One of the charms of homemade Yuzu Kosho is that you can adjust it to your liking. We recommend using hot chilli pepper instead of mild chilli 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. Chilli and Yuzu helps improve blood flow and is generally good for the 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 such as from Amazon or reach out to specialty shops that sell Japanese ingredients especially if you reside outside Japan. There are a great variety of yuzu kosho available today, but please be vigilant on the manufacturing methods as it may be detrimental to the authenticity of yuzu kosho products. Those residing in Japan can easily get their hands on Yuzu Kosho from supermarkets or grocery stores.
Is yuzu easy to obtain outside Japan?
Unfortunately, yuzu is very limited outside Japan. Those who resides in the US or Australia could possibly obtain yuzu from local yuzu farms.

Where to Buy Yuzu Kosho?

With the unprecedented pandemic at hand, it may be safer to purchase Yuzu Kosho online, such as from Amazon especially if you reside outside Japan. There are a great variety of yuzu kosho available today, but please be vigilant on the manufacturing methods as it may be detrimental to the authenticity of yuzu kosho products. Kawashima The Japan Store also holds a variety of Yuzu Kosho products cultivated by local, long-established professionals so do try them out!

Those residing in Japan can easily get their hands on Yuzu Kosho from supermarkets or grocery stores.

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