Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit valued for its highly aromatic rind. It is reminiscent of a classic Eureka lemon, an oro blanco grapefruit, and a lime but still has its own unique fragrance and flavor: a little floral, a little sour, and utterly wonderful. There isn’t much juice on the interior, mostly seed, but the zest is intensely fragrant, and this is one of the few citrus fruits that don’t diminish in flavor when cooked. In the garden, yuzu is one of the hardiest citrus plants; they are cold-resistant at temperatures as low as 5°F (–15°C). Just watch out for those thorns—they are deadly huge!
Hailing from the island of Kyushu in Japan, yuzu kosho is an amazing ingredient to have in the kitchen: bright, floral zest from yuzu fruit combined with chilies and salt. It has an intense pop of flavor and you’ll often use just a touch of it: a dab in ramen or chicken soup, added to some soy sauce for a zesty dipping sauce, or rubbed on chicken or fish for grilling. You may find yourself addicted and start adding it into salads, appetizers, soups, main courses, and snacks.
Although yuzu can be hard to find, don’t despair. You can create a similar condiment using lime, grapefruit, lemon, or a combination, with each providing its own unique personality. Yuzu kosho is traditionally made with a chile similar to Thai Bird’s Eye chilies; but serranos or jalapeños are great variations if you can’t get Thai chilies. Not having any Thai chilies in our garden, we developed this recipe with serranos.
Ingredient amounts are mere guidelines because chile spice levels and the intensity of the yuzu will vary. Find a ratio you like between the chile and yuzu, then add 10 percent of their combined weight in a good sea salt or kosher salt. (For example, if the minced chilies and yuzu zest weigh 100 grams, add
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