Yuzukosho is a Japanese condiment made from very finely chopped yuzu zest and chilli. It’s hot, salty, very sour but with floral notes coming through that really lift it. As it is very difficult to buy fresh yuzu, if you want an authentic yuzukosho, you will probably need to buy it ready-made. However, I have found that you can use the same principles and adapt them to other kinds of chilli and citrus.
- 15 g (½ oz) finely grated lemon zest (from around 4 large lemons)
- 5 g ( one-sixth oz) finely grated mandarin zest (from around 4 mandarins)
- 40 g (1½ oz) medium-hot red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 6 g (¼ oz) salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To prepare, simply put everything in a food processor or grind with a pestle and mortar. It tastes good from the start, but try to leave it in the refrigerator to ferment gently for a week and the flavour will be vastly improved. After that, it will keep indefinitely.
This makes a relatively small amount – a little does go a long way, though.
Once you have some kosho stored in the refrigerator, you can use it in any number of ways. I use it in its pure form as a condiment for soup, or spread on grilled meat or fish. You can turn it into a thinner sauce with some lime juice and a pinch of sugar or honey, and it makes an incredible dipping sauce with soy sauce and juice. You can add other aromatics to it such as garlic and ginger.
Variation: for lime-Scotch bonnet kosho, use 20 g (¾ oz) finely grated lime zest; 5 g (¹⁄₆oz) Scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and finely chopped; 35 g (1¼ oz) mild-medium-hot red or green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped; 6 g (¼ oz) salt. Prepare in the same way. Good for adding a hot/sour note to sweet coconut milk dishes. If you want to make this very hot, just increase the amount of Scotch bonnet chilli and reduce the amount of mild – I have included just a small amount for flavour as opposed to heat.
• If you are lucky enough to find some fresh yuzu, remember that the basic formula is four times the amount of chilli to zest. Then weigh and add 10 per cent of the final weight in salt. This formula can be messed around with as much as you like, depending on the type of chillies you use, with the chilli/zest ratio very adaptable. However, the salt must always be 10 per cent of the total.
Recipe from Citrus by Catherine Phipps, photography by Mowie Kay (Quadrille, hb, $39.99). Read Catherine's guide to savoury citrus preserves here.