It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Jeanine Donofrio of Love and Lemons gives a classic Japanese condiment a homemade makeover -- with a twist.

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Ponzu is one of my favorite condiments, so I was disappointed to learn that it's often packed with chemicals and additives. I recently set out to make my own, and used Meyer lemons because they most closely replicate the flavor of fresh yuzu. To my surprise, it was extremely easy to make and actually tastes much better than what comes out of the bottle.

Meyer Lemon Ponzu Sauce

This recipe is very loosely inspired by one from Shizuo Tsuji's Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art

Makes 1/2 cup

1 piece kombu, (about 2 by 2 inches)
3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
3 tablespoons shoyu
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mirin (optional)
1 tablespoon bonito flakes (optional)

Lightly rinse the kombu and place in a small bowl along with the Meyer lemon juice, shoyu, rice vinegar, and mirin. Let sit for at least a few hours, but preferably overnight.

If you're vegetarian, stop there; otherwise, add the bonito flakes, let sit for a few minutes, and strain.

Enjoy ponzu tossed with soba noodles, or use it as a dipping sauce for summer rolls or lettuce wraps. Store in the refrigerator for at least a few months. 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Jeanine Donofrio

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • tamater sammich
    tamater sammich
  • Jeff
  • molly yeh
    molly yeh
  • jklasd
My name is Jeanine Donofrio, author The Love & Lemons Cookbook and the food blog I create healthy, seasonal, (mostly) vegetarian. I love kale, green tea, cake, and of course lemons.


tamater S. December 1, 2013
@Jeff - Shoyu is not a "fancy word." I live in a little village in the Canadian country, and have known of it for decades. My favourite, Ohsawa brand organic Nama Shoyu, is in my pantry. The vegetarian cookbook Laurel's Kitchen (copyright 1976, 1986) devotes a whole page, (pg. 234) to 'Soy Sauce, Shoyu & Tamari' - well over a million copies of that book have been sold.

Shoyu is traditionally made by long fermentation, while soy sauce is an unfermented preparation made from hydrolyzed vegetable protein, corn syrup, caramel colour, salt, and msg.

If you hang around long enough, you'll see that the people at F52 are sophisticated enough not to let a little word stop them from asking a question, or taking a few seconds to look something up on the net; we don't need to be dumbed-down-to. We're foodies after all, and we're here to share information, and to learn from each other. That's the joy of it all!

Did I shoyu a thing or two? ;)

jklasd August 9, 2014
Actually, Jeff is right. I’ve lived in four major world cities and never heard of shoyu. So no, you didn’t show us anything, except maybe that you’re a hipster.
tamater S. August 12, 2014
Yeah, maybe I'm a hipster living in a backwoods cabin. Ok, whatever. It's not rutting season up here yet.
Jeff November 27, 2013
There's no need to confuse folks with fancy, japanese words. In the English speaking world, shoyu is known as soy sauce.
molly Y. November 27, 2013
my mom goes through this stuff by the gallon it seems! i'm forwarding this to her.