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Monday, June 17, 2024

Do-it-yourself Mentsuyu めんつゆ : Simple Japanese Sauce

Mentsuyu is a flavourful and multipurpose Japanese sauce/soup base that may be made simply at house with simply 5 components!



Mentsuyu is a flexible Japanese sauce utilized in many conventional Japanese dishes. It’s identified for its complicated and umami-rich but delicate style that lends itself nicely to a wide range of meals. It’s used extensively in Japanese delicacies, particularly as a soup base for hot and cold noodles and as a dipping sauce for tempura. However this condiment is just not restricted to only these classics; it may be used for far more together with salad dressings and hamburgers. Discover the components right here together with step-by-step directions to discover ways to make this sauce simply at house with simply 5 components and improve the flavours of your favorite Japanese dishes!

mentsuyu in a glass jar

What’s Mentsuyu?

Mentsuyu, or typically simply ‘tsuyu’, is a conventional Japanese soup base utilized in a wide range of dishes. It’s created from a mix of soy sauce, mirin (candy rice wine), sake (Japanese rice wine), and dashi (a broth created from bonito flakes and kombu seaweed). The phrase “mentsuyu” actually interprets to “noodle sauce,” as it’s generally used as a dipping sauce for noodles resembling soba and udon. 

The flavour profile of mentsuyu may be described as umami-rich, savoury, and barely candy. It offers depth and complexity to any dish it’s added to. It’s sometimes concentrated and must be diluted with water earlier than utilizing it. Mentsuyu may be loved each scorching or chilly, relying on private desire and the dish being ready.

cold soba noodles served on a bamboo strainer and a pair of chopsticks holding soba noodles out dipping into a small bowl of sauce

Why Do-it-yourself?

Whereas store-bought choices are available, choosing selfmade mentsuyu is healthier, particularly since it’s straightforward to make. Why is making your personal mentsuyu at house well worth the effort?

  1. Tailor-made Flavour Profile: Making mentsuyu from scratch means you may customise the flavours in accordance with your private preferences making it sweeter or extra savoury.
  2. Superior Freshness: Retailer-bought mentsuyu usually comprises preservatives and components to lengthen its shelf life, compromising its freshness and altering the genuine style. By getting ready it in your kitchen utilizing recent components, you may guarantee a very genuine flavour expertise with none added chemical compounds. 
  3. Vegetarian pleasant: Mentsuyu is made with dashi which is a sort of inventory created from bonito fish. By making the mentsuyu at house, you can also make this sauce vegan/vegetarian pleasant by utilizing kombu dashi created from seaweed or a shiitake mushroom primarily based dashi
  4. More healthy Alternative: Do-it-yourself mentsuyu provides you full management over the standard and sort of components used. You’ll be able to select low-sodium soy sauce and even substitute it with tamari for a gluten-free model. This additionally lets you omit synthetic taste enhancers generally present in store-bought varieties.

For those who do select to buy store-bought mentsuyu the make sure that to learn the bottle rigorously. The sauce is usually concentrated and should must be diluted.

store bought mentsuyu bottle on the kitchen bench


Listed below are among the key components present in mentsuyu recipes.

Dashi: Dashi is the bottom of mentsuyu and plenty of different Japanese soups and sauces. It’s sometimes created from kombu (dried kelp) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). These components infuse the broth with a savory, barely candy style. To make a vegan model of mentsuyu, use a selfmade kombu dashi or shiitake mushroom dashi (click on every to get the recipes).

Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is a vital part of mentsuyu, offering a salty component to steadiness out the flavours. It additionally contributes to the wealthy brown coloration of the sauce.

Mirin: Mirin is a candy rice wine usually utilized in Japanese cooking so as to add sweetness and depth of taste. It helps to steadiness out the saltiness of soy sauce whereas giving mentsuyu its attribute delicate sweetness. For those who use Hon Mirin(本みりん), boil it down to permit the alcohol content material of hon mirin to evaporate. Learn extra about varieties of Mirn right here.

Sake: That is one other sort of rice wine which may be added to mentsuyu for added complexity and aroma. It enhances the general taste profile with out overpowering different components.

Sugar: A small quantity of sugar could also be included in mentsuyu to spherical off the flavours and create an ideal steadiness between candy, salty, bitter, and umami tastes.

These components can range barely relying on particular person recipes or regional preferences inside Japan however present a normal understanding of what goes into making mentsuyu.

katsuobushi bonito flake, mirin, sake and sugar and kombu kelp

Step by Step Directions

1. Place mirin and sake in a medium sized pot. Add kombu kelp to let it soak within the liquid components to launch its umami flavours.

2. Put the pot over medium warmth, as soon as it’s boiled flip the warmth down and simmer for five minutes over low warmth. 

3. Add bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and simmer for an extra one minute. 

4. Flip the warmth off and let it quiet down. 

5. Add soy sauce into the saucepan.

5. Utilizing a fine-mesh strainer lined with a kitchen paper towel, pressure out all solids from the mentsuyu into one other clear container to maintain.

Mentsuyu process, 4 images collage. one with mirin, sake and kelp in a saucepan, then bonito flake added, and soy sauce added then strained

Learn how to Use Mentsuyu

The fantastic thing about mentsuyu lies in its versatility throughout a variety of dishes.

Widespread makes use of for mentsuyu embody :

  • as a dipping sauce for tempura and chilly noodles like soba and udon 
  • as a soup base for warm noodle dishes and scorching pots resembling sukiyaki and nabemono.

Different utilization concepts:

  • Combined with olive or sesame oil, shallots, and sesame seeds as a salad dressing
  • To glaze or marinade grilled meats or greens or to flavour hamburgers
  • As a sauce for chilly tofu (hiyayakko) or fried tofu (agedashi tofu)
  • To boost the flavour of stir-fries.

When utilizing mentsuyu, do not forget that it usually must be diluted as it is rather concentrated.

Dipping sauce (tsuketsuyu) for noodles resembling chilly soba noodles and somen noodles, typically, the ratio of mentsuyu and water is 1 : 1  to 1 : 2. 

Noodle soups (kaketsuyu) resembling udon noodle dishes, the ratio is 1 : 3. For example if you want to make one cup of kaketsuyu, you want 1/4 cup of mentsuyu and three/4 cup of scorching water.

Tempura and soba noodles served together on a bamboo tray with garnish and dipping sauce in a small cup


As talked about earlier than, by making mentsuyu at house you will have the flexibleness of adjusting the components to fit your preferences and desires.

Vegetarian and Vegan choice : exchange bonito flake (katsuobushi) dashi with a kombu dashi or a shiitake mushroom dashi. 

Fast choice : you may as well use prompt dashi powder if they’re obtainable. Put 100ml every of mirin and sake in a small saucepan over medium warmth to carry to boil, flip the warmth right down to low and simmer for a couple of minutes to let alcohol content material to evaporate. Add 1 and 1/4 teaspoon of dashi powder to dissolve. Then stir soy sauce in.  

Shiitake Dashi in a storing jar with two dried shiitake mushrooms in background

Suggestions for Making Mentsuyu

  • To extract most taste out of your components, simmer the combination gently over low warmth. This course of permits the flavors to meld collectively whereas infusing the dashi inventory with umami goodness. 
  • Don’t boil after including bonito flakes because it brings out a fishy scent. 
  • After simmering, pressure the liquid by means of a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to take away any strong particles, leading to a easy and refined mentsuyu sauce. 
  • Additionally, when straining the cooled mentsuyu, squeeze it LIGHTLY as squeezing too arduous will carry out the disagreeable style.


Q : What’s the distinction between Tentsuyu and Mentsuyu?

A : Tentsuyu is primarily used as a dipping sauce for tempura whereas mentsuyu is for noodles. There’s a distinction within the ratio of components used for every.

Q : Does mentsuyu go unhealthy?

A : Sure it does, nevertheless this recipe doesn’t use water which makes this recipe last more (however means it’s concentrated and must be diluted when utilizing it). Hold this mentsuyu in a sterilised jar and it’ll final for just a few weeks within the fridge and a month within the freezer.

mentsuyu in a glass jar


Mentsuyu is a flavourful and multipurpose Japanese sauce/soup base that may be made simply at house with simply 5 components!

Course: condiments

Delicacies: Japanese

Cook dinner Time 15 minutes

Whole Time 15 minutes

Servings: 2 cups *3

Energy: 173kcal

Fee this recipe



  • Place mirin and sake in a medium sized pot to let the kombu soak within the liquid components to launch its umami flavours.

  • Put the pot over medium warmth, as soon as it is boiled flip the warmth down and simmer for five minutes over low warmth.

  • Add bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and simmer for an extra one minute. *2

  • Flip the warmth off and let it quiet down.

  • Pour soy sauce into the saucepan.

  • Utilizing a fine-mesh strainer lined with a kitchen paper towel, pressure out all solids from the mentsuyu into one other clear container to maintain.


*1 mirin and soy sauce ratio is 1:1, alter sweetness by including sugar.
*2 don’t boil as it would trigger fishy scent. 
*3 this may make about 2 cups of focus mentsuyu.
*4 Dipping tsuyu, add equal quantity of water or as much as double quantity of water relying in your liking.
*5 Kaketsuyu, dilute with one half to 3 components of water.


Energy: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Sodium: 903mg | Sugar: 28g

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