The first time I bought ponzu sauce was a happy accident.
I pulled down what I thought was a bottle of Japanese soy sauce from a high shelf at the Asian grocery. I tossed it into my shopping cart, and not until I reached the checkout line, with my cart full and my wallet in hand, did I realize I had ponzu instead of soy sauce.
I checked the ingredient list on the bottle. Well, I thought, why not give it a try?
Thus began my love affair with ponzu. Think of it "soy sauce plus", as soy is the main ingredient, but it's the combination of sweet and fruit that makes ponzu sauce a perfect base for building a glaze, or a stir-fry or barbecue sauce.
It's easy to make your own from ingredients you probably already have in the pantry, but it's easier to keep a bottle of store-bought ponzu in the refrigerator.
What is ponzu sauce?
A blend of naturally brewed soy sauce, vinegar, bonito, and citrus (yuzu or lime), plus a bit of sugar.
How/where to store:
Unopened, in the cupboard indefinitely; once opened, store in the refrigerator for up to one year.
More facts about ponzu sauce, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Ponzu sauce (Recipe: grilled chile-lime-ponzu chicken)
Grilled flank steak with ponzu and honey glaze
There's something about flank steak cooked on a grill that screams Summer! Here's a variation that is not spicy or salty; it's fruity, with just a hint of a glaze from the honey in the marinade. Serve with cold sesame noodles or a salad made with broccoli slaw and an Asian dressing, for a great twist on the traditional meat-and-coleslaw favorite. Serves 6-8, depending on side dishes.
1/2 cup ponzu
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 pinch fresh black pepper
2 lb flank steak, trimmed of any excess fat
Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary with more honey or vinegar.
Place the steak in a large ziploc bag, and pour in the ponzu mixture. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
When you're ready to cook, heat your grill (or broiler) to high. While the grill is heating, remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Do not discard the marinade. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, brushing occasionally with the marinade. Remove the meat from the grill and allow it to sit, covered with a piece of aluminum foil, for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
You can make this dish far ahead; it's just as good cold as hot.
Other recipes that use ponzu sauce:
Tofu with ponzu sauce, from Ravenous Couple
Uni shooter with ponzu sauce, from Steamy Kitchen
Udon with ponzu and brown butter sauce, from Healthy Delicious
Sesame crusted tuna with ponzu sauce, from The Kitchen Sink
Brussels sprouts with bacon, ponzu, fried garlic and bonito flakes, from We are not Martha
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