Thursday, July 07, 2011

Yuzu Kosho

My housemates back in college used to talk about suffering from condimentia. When it comes to spicy, so do I. And how. The fridge is loaded with Sriracha, harissa, Tapatio, Korean pepper paste and Thai chile sauce.

You know I like spicy. The hotter the better is my quiet motto. I don't just sprinkle crushed red pepper on my pizza, I am compelled to add habanero flakes. I'd like to eat at Jitlada and Chung King on a weekly basis, just to satisfy my heat needs.

So when I find a new condiment that satisfies my cravings for fire, I am pretty well delighted. This time, I can thank the Japanese. Yuzu Kosho or yuzu pepper paste isn't punishingly hot. The heat of green chile is balanced by the citrusy tang of yuzu and an ample dose of salt. Yuzu-Kosho has a slow savory burn.

I picked up a little jar of the paste at McCall's Meat & Fish Company in Los Feliz a few months ago. I'm now well into my third. I see you can purchase it on Amazon, but I can't vouch for the brand simply because I haven't tried it. No doubt you'll find it at thoroughly stocked Asian markets.

The pickle-green condiment would be stunning in ceviche. It really is gorgeous on fish. I roasted some Bass coated with olive oil, lemon juice, and Yuzu Kosho on high heat and it turned out beautifully. You don't want to overdo it with the pepper paste, so as to avoid overwhelming the delicate flavor of the fish. Very nice on chicken too!

In the end, my favorite way to enjoy Yuzu Kosho is with beef. The bloody meat is carried to an entirely new level thanks to the salt, heat and acid of the pepper paste. I liberally spoon it onto rare steaks, and -- this may sound nuts -- I love it on hamburgers. A couple dollops right on the charred meat, just below the grilled onions. Divine.


Ashleigh said...

Looks awesome! Have you ever tried this sriracha sauce? It is preservative free and really good!

Anonymous said...

I love yuzu kushu and it's getting more and more available which is great. It's great smeared over ham just before roasting, the charred meat and the bitterness and heat just sing! Shouldn't work, but absolutely does.

Most times I've seen it it's green but on a recent trip to Osaka I found a red version - blended with red chillies - the taste was almost identical, probably just a little sweeter.

My local asian market has started selling little pots of dried yuzu flakes. It's by S&B, the company that sell those little pots of japanese pepper (sansho, ichimi togarashi, nanami togarashi). It's great just sprinkled on salads. It's almost like breadcrumbs with the delicate taste of yuzu fruit - YUM YUM YUM!