Mentsuyu, which means “noodle broth” in Japanese, is a multi-purpose seasoning found in numerous Japanese dishes. Made from a combination of some of Japan’s most iconic ingredients, it’s a convenient way to increase the depth of flavor in any savory recipe. Mentsuyu is commonly used in noodle soups, rice bowls, hot pot, and dipping sauces. While pre-made mentsuyu can be purchased from Asian grocery stores in various concentrations, it’s simple and easy to make your own version at home using pantry ingredients!
To make mentsuyu, you need just four ingredients: mirin, soy sauce, dashi powder, and water. In this recipe, the majority of the flavor is derived from dashi powder, so be sure to use one that you like! We recommend awase dashi, the most commonly used variety of dashi in Japan. “Awase” means “combine”, which refers to the combination of konbu (dried seaweed) and katsuoboshi (bonito flakes) used as flavoring ingredients.Simply boil the dashi powder in water to create a pure, sweet, and mellow dashi stock.
Stirring in mirin provides a hint of sweetness, while soy sauce adds another dimension of saltiness. The result is a well-balanced sauce that can be used in recipes such as hot and cold udon or soba, ochazuke, wafu-style pasta, and tempura dipping sauce.
Depending on how you plan to use your mentsuyu, you can concentrate it by boiling off excess liquid or dilute it by adding water. Feel free to taste and adjust according to your preferences! Mentsuyu can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.
- 1 awase dashi pack
- 600ml water
- 150ml soy sauce (use either a light soy sauce (usukuchi) or a dark soy sauce (koikuchi) if you prefer a lighter or stronger flavor)
- 150ml mirin
- Add 1 awase dashi pack (1 package of konbu and 2 packages of katsuobushi) to 600ml of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 6-7 mins. Remove the packages and add the soy sauce and mirin. Turn off the heat just before boiling and let it cool. This mentsuyu can be stored for 2-3 days when refrigerated.
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.
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