The Japanese have consumed a variety of citrus for millennia; enjoying both the juice and peels of the fruit. Many who reside outside Japan have become familiar with yuzu, a member of the Rutaceae (citrus) family primarily prized for its aromatic yellow peel. However, sudachi (above, left) and kabosu (above, right) both coming to market as green-skinned fruit, remain relatively unknown. And that is a shame: both are fabulous fruits with wide culinary application.
Sudachi is small (about 3cm/1-inch diameter) with a tangy- sour juice tempered by sweeter tangerine-like overtones. Tokushima Prefecture (on the island of Shikoku) is where most of the commercial crop of sudachi is grown today.
Kabosu is larger (about 4.5cm/2-inch diameter) in size; its juice hints of grapefruit and orange. The green skin is often dappled with yellow.
Both sudachi and kabosu are served with fried and grilled meat, chicken and seafood.. Both citrus fruits can be squeezed to extract tart juice that is lighter, less acidic than lemon or lime — a flavor profile the Japanese call sawayaka or invigorating, refreshing. Mixed with soy sauce and dashi stock the juice of sudachi and/or kabosu makes a memorable ponzu sauce to drizzle over blocks of tōfu., to serve as a dipping sauce with cold noodles and also hotpot nabé casseroles.
Although a bit bitter, the zest of both sudachi and kabosu, like yuzu, is delicious dusted over wheels of broth-simmered daikon radish. also sweet potatoes. Try mixing the juice of sudachi and/or kabosu with seltzer water to make a truly refreshing sparkling beverage. After enjoying the juice of sudachi and/or kabosu, save the spent rinds and pith to make marmalade.
Like all citrus sudachi and kabosu are rich in vitamin C but both Japanese citrus fruits also boast significant amounts of calcium and potassium, too.
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Elizabeth Andoh A Taste of Culture Culinary Arts Program Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-0095, Japan