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Eat This Word: Ponzu

Jennie Dockser

April 12, 2018


WHAT? Soy sauce with a citrus twist. Ponzu is a tart Japanese condiment used for dipping, marinating, or dressing. It's prepared by combining the classic Japanese staples of mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi flakes (a.k.a. dried, fermented, and smoked tuna flakes), and seaweed over medium heat. After simmering, the sauce is cooled and strained to remove the katsuobushi. The ponzu is then finished with the juice of one or more citrus fruits, such as yuzu, sudachi, or lemon, resulting in a condiment that is tangy, tart, and addictive.

The origin of this kitchen favorite is a little mysterious: a closer look at the name suggests some Dutch influence, a remnant of the 17th century, when the Dutch East India Company began trading with Japan. From the early 1600s to 1854, the Dutch were the only westerners in business with Japan, leaving a mark on the culture and language that extends to the present. The name ponzu can be broken into two parts: pon, from the Dutch word pons, meaning “punch,” like the beverage; and the Japanese word su, meaning vinegar. “Punch vinegar”—that sounds about right.  

WHERE? Jersey Road Trip

WHEN? Monday, April 16, 2018

HOW? Salmon Tartare with Ponzu Gelée, Grapes, Sesame, Nori Cracker, and Micro-Herbs