SKU: 8757


Kanzuri 6 Year Fermented Pepper and Yuzu Paste

85 gram jar - Niigata, Japan

Aged six years
Fermented Pepper with Yuzu Citrus

In a remote village in Japan, long before refrigeration, snow became a natural way to preserve locally-grown food for the winter.

By the time spring arrived, the cold snow had not only "preserved" foods, but in some cases, transformed the food into something new.

As in the case of these Kanzuri peppers, they were harvested in the summer, then kept in salt for six months before being laid out on the snow for a few days early in the year. The "snow" process reduces the bitterness and salt content of the peppers while breaking down their fibrous structure, mellowing the punch, and bringing out their sweet side.

The peppers are then mixed with koji (rice mold) and yuzu citrus. The peppers and yuzu live together for six years, "fermenting" their relationship to create what is in this jar.

Place a spoonful of this Yuzu chili pepper paste in a dish on a table below your face and nose, and the aromas will rise and float into your nostrils. It is subtle, but as you recognize the smell, it becomes more pleasantly present.

If you take a big whiff, you will recognize the distinct aroma of a hot pepper with a slight twizzle tickle in the nostrils.

On the tongue (and in the mouth), the yuzu comes out quickly and then is gone, replaced by a mellow saltiness and the flavor of the pepper. I have to admit, putting even a small amount in my mouth directly was a little scary, and I am happy to report that I survived. There is heat, but it is not all-enveloping. If there is a lingering tingle, it's in the lower half of the mouth, the tip of the tongue, and a momentary twitch in the back of the throat.

What is amazing about this fermented chili pepper paste with yuzu citrus is that it's smooth, level, not spiky but even-keeled, a temperament that enhances without too much dancing. You get the flavor of the pepper, the help of salt to open up the pores, and a nice smooth feel of pepper heat. There is no rush of accelerated heat or unpleasant explosion of hot sauce.

When used, this fermented chili pepper paste is like a gentle wave across the palate. It doesn't overwhelm; instead, it is mellow across the board. Yet, you know it has a fiery core, just like when you have it straight up.

Simply put, it is quite amazing! Those in Niigata use it in hot pots, sashimi, and the grill. Venus has replaced her yuzu kosho with Kanzuri in her famous tuna fish salad and is loving it.

Much has changed in Niigata since way back when, but the Kanzuri fermented pepper has not. The careful preparation has remained the same after all these years – a true slow food process in which time cannot be accelerated.

Recipes Featuring This Product