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Karen's Zesty Ponzu Sauce with Yuzu Juice

Karen’s Zesty Ponzu Dipping Sauce

Citrusy Ponzu Sauce can be made ahead of time – adds flavor and Zest to all!
See all my Make Ahead Sauces, Salsas and Condiments for easy-breezy meals!

Seared Scallops with Karen's Ponzu Sauce on white embossed plate
Seared Scallops with Karen’s Zesty Ponzu Sauce and steamed vegetables (see RECIPE!) 
Seared Scallops with Karen's Zesty Ponzu Sauce on embossed white plate
Seared Scallops with Karen’s Zesty Ponzu Sauce

Ponzu is a citrus based sauce used in Japanese cooking.
Ponzu meaning “punch” – does just that… punches up flavor with Umami tastes and benefits.
It’s incredibly fragrant ~ nothing tastes quite like it!

Commercial Ponzu sauce has many chemical additives, so why not make your own?
It’s quick and fun – just need a few key ingredients to make it special.

There are many variations, as each cook creates their own brew.
I find the key ingredient to it’s distinct citrusy flavor is Yuzu Juice.
Yuzu is a citrus fruit of East Asian origin with a heavenly complex sour flavor… but not bitter sour.

Ponzu Sauce can brighten up many meals. Make some – keep in the refrigerator and for, sprinkle and dip into it!

See all from my Category: Condiments For Flavor for inspiration! Makes the meal!

Seared Scallops with Karen's Zesty Ponzu Sauce and Steamed Rice
Seared Scallops with Karen’s Zesty Ponzu Sauce and Steamed Rice
Karen's Zesty Ponzu Sauce with Yuzu Juice
Karen’s Zesty Ponzu Sauce with Yuzu Juice – an Unami powerhouse 

While the ingredients in ponzu sauce are healthy, it does contain a good dose of sodium.
Umami has a  “pleasant savory taste” – one of the five basic tastes, savory and oh-so-tasty!

The difference between shoyu and Tamari:

Shoyu is simply the name for the Japanese-style soy sauce which contains gluten. It is brewed with a mix of soy and wheat. A sweet, nuanced flavor.

Tamari is classically, it’s made with only soybeans (and no wheat) – so if Gluten Free, use Tamari and read labels for wheat content.

What is Ponzu Sauce?

Simply put, Ponzu Sauce is a Japanese citrus sauce. A flavorful condiment and a zesty marinade, it is made from soy sauce, vinegar, citrus juice, sugar, and mirin. For the best flavor use fresh Japanese citrus juice: aromatic Yuzu!

The resulting flavor is full of depth that exhibits both tangy and floral-sweetness.
A little sauce that can delivers a flavor that encompasses a perfect balance of sweet, salty, bitter, and sour all at once!

How to Use Ponzu

  • A Finishing Sauce
  • Dipping Sauce for Dumplings and Steamed Vegetables
  • The perfect addition for over for Steamed Rice
  • Liven up Rice Dishes
  • Add Roasted Peanut Oil or Sesame Oil for a wonderful Vinaigrette
  • Add to your favorite Noodle Dishes
  • Drizzle over anything you desire a tart yet mellow extra flavor 
  • Top steamed or grilled proteins; chicken, fish, tofu or raw oysters
  • As a dipping sauce for Sushi and Sashimi

A common ways to use ponzu sauce is as a dipping sauce for dumplings or steamed vegetables.
I have simply pan-seared Sea Scallops and some steamed veggies – and poured Ponzu over – sprinkling with some toasted sesame seeds.
It is the perfect finishing sauce.

Kikoman Ponzu: AVOID (too many preservatives!) Make your own! 

See RECIPE: Seared Sea Scallops with Karen’s Ponzu Sauce 

Other Fabulous Condiments that make a meal:

Thai Basil Pesto – and what to do with it!
Thai Basil Pesto – and what to do with it!

The flavor has a pronounced licorice essence and a little spicy kick. So many uses – see my list. Find this wonderful variety at farmers’ markets. Makes a delicious and unique pesto!

Karen's Garlic Confit ~ A Silky, Spreadable Condiment
Karen’s Garlic Confit ~ A Silky, Spreadable Condiment

Garlic Confit is a “must have” recipe for every cook. Luscious softened garlic surrounded by a blend of healthy oils. Use the cloves and garlic- infused oil for a subtle yet rich flavor. Mash a few cloves into sauces and vinaigrettes!

Homemade Zesty Ranch Sauce and Dressing
Homemade Zesty Ranch Sauce and Dressing

So much better than store-bought! Whisk these ingredients together – for a sauce… add some lemon juice for a dressing.

Really Amazing Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
Really Amazing Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

Seasonal Fresh Rhubarb is blended in a tangy & zesty Barbecue Sauce!
An easy Sauce & Glaze – terrific using on the grill and as a side sauce.

Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette with cut lemons and whisk
Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

Tangy, Mellow and Zesty! A Fabulous Full-Of-Flavor Vinaigrette with many uses beyond salads.

Enjoy this Ponzu Sauce… and all my “Condiments for Flavor”

Seared Scallops with Karen's Ponzu Sauce on white embossed plate

Karen's Zesty Ponzu Sauce

Karen Sheer a zest for life
An updated cirtusy dipping and pouring sauce with tons of zesty flavor!
I find the key ingredient to it's distinct citrusy flavor is Yuzu Juice. Gluten Free Recipe.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course dipping sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 12 servings
Calories 27 kcal


  • 6 tablespoons gluten free tamari sauce or Japanese shoyu sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons mirin or sake (white wine in a pinch)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms cut into 1/2" pieces (about 4 medium caps)
  • 3 tablespoons pure yuzu juice* (no additives)
  • 2 pinches hot pepper flakes I use Szechuan chili flakes-spicy
  • 1 tablespoon scallions thinly sliced


  • Add first 5 ingredients to a small non-reactive pot (tamari through dried mushrooms.)
    Bring to a simmer, stir to dissolve the sugar - 30 seconds. Cover and take off heat to blend all the flavors.
    Let stand 30 minutes.
  • Strain mixture into a small bowl with a fine mesh strainer, pressing down firmly on the mushrooms, discard mushrooms.
  • Wipe pot clean - add strained mixture.
    Add Yuzu Juice and hot pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer to blend flavors- 30 seconds.
    Remove from heat and cool - the Ponzu Sauce is ready! Add scallions before serving.
    Recipe can easily be doubled. Refrigerate in a clean glass container in the refigerator.


* Pure Yuzu Juice is available at most Asian/Japanese markets, refrigerated. 
Meyer lemon juice can be a substitute (yet not as fabulous!)
See RECIPE: Pan Seared Scallops with Karen's Ponzu Sauce 
See all Condiments for Flavor recipes here.
This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.
Keyword ponzu dipping sauce, ponzu sauce, zesty ponzu sauce

Karen's Zesty Ponzu Sauce with Yuzu Juice

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