Yuzu is a yellow-orange coloured citrus fruit with a textured skin and an uneven but slightly flattened spherical shape. It is tart, with a grapefruit-mandarin-tangerine flavour profile, and its juice and zest are intensely aromatic. Yuzu is highly prized in Japan where its zest and rind are used to garnish savoury dishes such as miso soup and chawanmushi, and its juice is used, either alone, combined with soy (ponzu), or in the form of a yuzu vinegar to provide a bright citrusy finish a wide range of dishes. Yuzu juice, sweetened with honey and/or sugar is used sweets and desserts from cakes to marmalades.
In Korea, where it is called yuja, it is also popular, mainly mixed with honey and sugar as the base for a soothing, healthful tea.
In recent years, both yuzu juice and yuzu-soy ponzu have become internationally popular with chefs, and you would be hard-pressed to find an inventive bartender who doesn’t rely on it for its bright and fragrant citrusy pop.
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Here are some of the yuzu-based products that we carry:
In Korea yuzu is yuja, and yujacha is an unlikely looking tea. It’s basically a marmalade made with citron an exceedingly tasty and fragrant, but bitter, citrus fruit, sugar and honey. Very high in vitamin C, a spoonful or two in a glass of hot water is relied upon by Koreans to help fend off coughs, colds and sore throats. It’s also a tasty addition to vinaigrettes, poultry and seafood glazes and marinades, sweet baked goods, cocktails, and, at least in Vancouver, as a topping for organic soft serve ice cream.
A little bit of this intensely aromatic pure yuzu juice goes a long way. It has become a go-to ingredient for many chefs and bartenders in everything from cocktails to sauces to desserts. It is particularly good with seafood and poultry. (Because this premium product is unsalted it requires refrigeration.)
There are two kinds of ponzu. One is citrus-vinegar mixture generally used as a cooking ingredient; the other is a combination of soy and citrus. This is the latter type. Maroyaka (which in this context, means “mild”) is a particularly delicate version using fragrant yuzu juice (although on the English ingredient list, it just states “citrus”). An exquisite dipping or finishing sauce with seared or raw seafood, Japanese BBQ (yakiniku), hot pot and salads.