Japanese style carrot salad and a jar of citrus ponzu sauce

Confession time: Soy sauce is one of my favourite ingredients. I buy one-litre bottles which I use up quite quickly. I think of it as liquid, salty elegance that draws other flavours with it, leading them to a tasty path. In other words, it’s the healthiest source of the satisfying and addictive glutamate and umami flavour.

And since I mentioned elegance, it’s time to present my simplified version of Japanese ponzu sauce. Refreshing, citrusy, salty, full of flavour. Every time I combine good soy sauce with citrus juice … I simply want to drink it just like that.

The original recipe for ponzu sauce is based on light soy sauce and Asian citrus flavours, such as yuzu fruit juice with the addition of rice wine mirin, dried tuna flakes katsuobushi and a piece of kombu seaweed. I prepare my simpler, so maybe a bit ignorant (but still delicious!) version with tangerine juice and smoked paprika. I use it to prepare fresh lunch salads.

Smoked ponzu sauce
the proportion for a larger amount, about 150 ml. You can easily keep it in a jar in the refrigerator for about a week
  • 4 tbsp tangerine juice (so juice squeezed from one tangerine, alternatively it could be orange juice)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (30 ml)
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce (60ml)
  • 1 full tsp smoked paprika powder

  • Optional: a piece of kombu or half a sheet of nori
 1. In a jar or small bottle, combine the squeezed citrus juice with soy sauce and smoked paprika.

2. To enhance the flavour, you can add a piece of kombu seaweed or half a sheet of nori and marinate the algae sauce for at least a couple of hours.

Japanese carrot & chickpea salad

2-3 lunch portions or 4-5 starter portions

  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas (or drained chickpeas from one can)
  • 2 tbsp of delicate oil (rapeseed, sunflower or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (you can use rice or wine vinegar too)
  • a good pinch of salt and pepper

  • cooked rice
  • ponzu sauce
  • a piece of fresh chilli (really worth it!)
  • a bit of chives

This salad also tastes good with: roasted sesame seeds / roasted and crushed peanuts / coriander or Thai basil leaves / finely chopped or grated ginger

1. Grate the washed carrots with a julienne peeler and cut them into shorter pieces or simply grate them using a grater.

2. In a large bowl, combine and mix carrots, chickpeas, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

3. Serve the salad on a portion of cooked rice, with a little chopped chilli and chives. Gently pour two / three tbsp of ponzu sauce on top. The rice will absorb some of the sauce and the whole thing will be really delicious.