Father's Day is June 16

Kayoko here, filling in for Yoko. From here on out, just call me (Ka)Yoko.

By now, I'm sure you know what ponzu is. I don't even have to explain it to you. In fact, it's such a part of our colloquialism that I don't even need to italicize it! Oh you know, it's that tangy, citrusy, vinegry soy sauce that been featured in some of the fanciest restaurants in town: "XXfarm arugula dressed in a ponzu dressing"; "Local halibut with wasabi-ponzu sauce"; "Fanny Bay oysters on the half-shell with ponzu dipping sauce". Blah blah. Citrus soy. Gotcha.

And little did you know that it's super easy to make! No burners! No cooking! And most importantly, NO MSG! Beware the ponzu you find in the market--even the super fancy expensive ones will no doubt contain monosodium glutamates. Not that I'm against MSG, but if you know how easy it is to make it, there's no need for that. Just a few ingredients you should find in your fully-stocked Japanify kitchen cabinet, and you're ready to go.



I'm gonna write this out in "parts" cause I find it easier to translate across cultures this way.

1 part shoyu
1 part fresh-squeezed citrus (if you can find yuzu or sudachi, go for it. otherwise I used lemon and orange cause that's what I had on hand)
1/4 part komezu (rice vinegar)
1/2 part katsuobushi (dried fish flakes)
1 little piece of konbu (approx. 2-3")


1.) Squeeze citrus:


2.) Add all ingredients:


4.) Let sit for 24 hours.

5.) Strain:


Uhhhhh... is that it?? YES!

6.) Store in fridge. Should last a few days.


I found recipes online that said to use dashi, mirin, or peppers, but this recipe most closely resembles those I found in Japanese. As usual, I say do what suits you, and play around with it--put peppers in it if you want it spicy, put mirin in it if you want it a bit sweeter, add more citrus if you want more zip. I guess you could use dashi, but the concentrated flavors coming straight from the konbu and katsuobushi should really be enough.

Ponzu is such a mighty condiment. Add it to salads, grilled fish, meats, and vegetables for a peppy zing. Soft-shell crab (aka Rod + Todd) with ponzu in the summertime! Shabu-shabu in the cold winter months! No MSG! Hooray!

Ok, I admit, I didn't know it was this easy to make either. And actually, my "homemade ponzu" always simply consisted of me squeezing some lemon into shoyu. Oops. Always learning something new for Japanify!
Column: Japanify


  • Nijiya markets always carry Yuzu and Sudachi when in season. Tho beware, NO JUICE comes out of a single yuzu which is why they’re .99 cents each fruit. I have found a really incredible substitute also sold there but it’s all in japanese so I can’t tell you what it is. It’s about 4 ozs, in a small yellowish/greenish bottle, and looks like cloudy lime juice. With a yellow cap.

    Jerkey on

  • omg YES!! wonder where i can get me some fresh yuzu in norcal…

    wen on

  • That SO easy. My parents always used to eat boiled crab with soy sauce and lime/lemon juice. Just clicked that it’s like ponzu!

    sakura on

  • @Jerkey, there’s also now this stuff called Yuzu Passion.

    @Conrad, great to hear from you! How does this recipe compare with yours?

    Kayoko on

  • What a coincidink-just made ponzu myself for an event last Tuesday. Ponzu is indeed really easy to make, and infinitely customisable. Man I miss sudachi.

    conrad on

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