Creamy Ponzu Sauce: A Story of Dinner Desperation.

One cuisine I am hoping to explore more is Japanese. It has been on my culinary to-do list for a while now. The only Japanese ingredients I have in my pantry are soy sauce and Shichimi Togarashi Seasoning (aka Japanese Seven Spice). Shichimi Togarashi is a blend of chilis, nori, sesame seeds, among other spices. It is full of spicy umami and is delicious on seafood. My bottle is from McCormick but I know that Savory Spice carries a version of it as well.

One day I was talking with my co-worker about Japanese cooking. Her Japanese mother-in-law, Grandma, lives with her. I asked my co-worker “how does Grandma season her food when she cooks when she does not have any traditional Japanese ingredients?” My co-worker told me Ponzu Sauce, which is a mix of lemon and soy sauce, is a very common way of seasoning a Japanese dinner.

Fast forward 3 months later to me standing in front of my open fridge making my forehead wrinkles worse. I was staring at salmon I had defrosted, broccoli, and leftover rice. What in the world do I do with these ingredients I thought to myself? I had just gotten home from work and needed dinner sooner rather then later. I wanted more then basic salt and pepper. Enter in my Shichimi Togarashi seasoning blend for the fish. And…..still staring blankly at the fish…..a creamy Ponzu sauce!

Side note: I had also been on a homemade mayo kick that week and was turning it into a sauce by thinning it out to put on everything.


So I came up with this no-recipe recipe. Make a homemade mayo. I get my recipe out of Samin Nosrat’s book Salt Fat Acid Heat. Nosrat’s recipe is a good old fashion bowl and whisk recipe. You will whisk until your arm falls off in order to make your mayo. Totally find an immersion blender recipe if you wish. I can never get an immersion blender mayo to emulsify so I go the old school route.

After your mayo is done add salt, soy sauce, and lemon juice to taste. I started with a tablespoon of soy sauce and a drizzle of lemon juice and some salt. I tasted and added each ingredient until my husband, the final taste tester, and I were happy with the taste. Refrigerate your sauce if you salmon isn’t done cooking just yet.

Sometimes my recipes won’t have measurements for all the ingredients. I hope because of that I can teach you to trust your palette and create food that you and your family will love. Always taste your food as you go and adjust seasonings as needed.

When you and your taste testers approve, drizzle that luscious creamy Ponzu sauce all over everything and enjoy your fast, spiffed up dinner! I hope Grandma would be proud of this fusion of Japanese and American cooking.

img_2929From my family table to yours,

XO Lauren