Ponzu Sauce The famous tangy and umami-rich Japanese dipping sauce! Use it as a marinade, for dipping, for sprinkling over your food, as a vinaigrette for salads and veggies, and as a stir-fry sauce!
Making your own ponzu sauce couldn’t be easier! Whether you’re making the “full” version with bonito and kombu or the “simplified” version that omits these, this homemade ponzu sauce recipe is sure to win you over and you’ll never use store-bought again!
This popular Japanese citrus sauce is an all-purpose condiment that will bring life and flavor to a wide variety of foods. Believed to be of Dutch origins dating to the 17th century, the name Ponzu is derived from the old Dutch words pons (meaning punch, as in a fruity beverage) and su (meaning vinegar), referring to a tangy fruit sauce.
This condiment is made with citrus juice (traditionally an Asian citrus variety known as yuzu in Japan), rice vinegar, mirin (which adds sweetness), commonly soy sauce or tamari (known as ponzu shōyu but generally just called ponzu), katsuobushi flakes (dried shredded tuna), and kombu (sea kelp).
How to Use Ponzu Sauce
This yummy sauce is incredibly versatile and everyone has their own favorite way to use it. Here are just a few ideas:
- As a Dipping Sauce – use it for sashimi, shabu-shabu, steamed dumplings, gyoza and more
- As a Marinade – for fish, seafood, steak, chicken and pork
- In a Salad Dressing – use it to make a vinaigrette for your leafy greens
- As a Finishing Sauce – add to stir-fries, vegetables, cold noodles, tofu, brush over sushi, serve with tataki (lightly grilled fish or meat), or sprinkle over your entree and side dish
How to Make Ponzu Sauce
There are two routes you can take to make this sauce:
You can bring the soy sauce or tamari, mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi flakes and kombu to a boil then turn it off and let it cool and strain out the solids. Once cooled add the citrus juice. This will create a more concentrated tuna and sea kelp flavor in the sauce.
OR you can simply place all of the ingredients in a sealed jar, refrigerate and let it steep for 24 hours or up to a few days and then strain out the solids.
If you prefer you can make a simplified and vegetarian ponzu sauce and omit the tuna and the kombu.
To serve as a dipping sauce you can slice some green onions (scallions), toast some sesame seeds, and stir them into the ponzu sauce.
For more delicious homemade Asian condiments try our:
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Yum Yum Sauce
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Plum Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
- Black Bean Sauce
- Kecap Manis
- Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese 7-Spice Seasoning Blend)
- Gomasio (Japanese Sesame Salt)
Ponzu Sauce (Japanese Citrus Dipping Sauce)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (you can use all lemon juice but the combination of lemon and lime more closely resembles the flavor of yuzu, which is the traditional citrus fruit of choice)
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup (3 g) katsuobushi / bonito flakes
- 1 2-inch piece kombu
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (optional for bigger citrus flavor boost)
- Two methods:For a more intense tuna/sea kelp flavor: In a small sauce pan bring the soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi, kombu and lemon zest (if using) to a boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool completely. Strain out the solids. Stir in the citrus juice.For a milder tuna/sea kelp flavor: Place all of the ingredients in a glass jar, shake, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to a few days, shaking occasionally. Strain out the solids.*For a simplified or vegetarian version you can omit the katsuobushi and kombu.Store in in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to a month.Makes 1/3 cup ponzu sauce.