Explainers

What is yuzu kosho?

A punchy paste packing citrus and chilli, yuzu kosho is the kind of versatile flavour bomb that’ll spice up pretty much anything. Get the lowdown on this Japanese condiment.

Yuzu kosho, the Japanese condiment made with citrus and chilli, is a versatile flavour bomb that deserves a spot in every pantry.

What is yuzu kosho?

Yuzu kosho is a Japanese condiment made from fresh chillies (usually green) combined with the rind and juice of the fragrantly tart yuzu, a citrus fruit that's mainly grown in Japan, Korea and China. When the mixture ferments, it transforms into a powerful and flavour-packed paste or sauce. Think of it as Japanese Tabasco.

Why do we care?

This concoction packs a serious punch, adding a bright fiery tang and depth to a range of dishes. Use it in marinades or to season raw or cooked fish. Add a dollop to dressings or aïoli, or serve it with braised meats and fried foods to cut through the richness. A little goes a long way, so add it to dishes a little at a time until you find the right balance; likewise when adding salt – yuzu kosho is already salty.

Where can I get yuzu kosho?

This flavour bomb can be hard to get your hands on. Specialist Japanese shops, such as Chef's Armoury (chefsarmoury.com), stock it in tubes or jars, but in the interests of accessibility we've concocted our own version. Yuzu is also difficult to find, so we've used a mix of lemon, lime and grapefruit to mimic its flavour.

How to make yuzu kosho

Finely grate the rind of 8 limes, 2 lemons and ½ white grapefruit on a Microplane, then pound with a mortar and pestle. Finely chop 2 green birdseye chillies and add to citrus rind along with 1 tsp sea salt, then pound to a fine paste. Add a little lime juice to thin the mixture slightly.

Store yuzu kosho in an airtight container for up to a month.

Makes 100gm.