Ponzu Sauce, Marinade or Salad Dressing

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Use this Japanese citrus based sauce as a glaze for grilled fish, meat or poultry, or mix it with olive oil to make a dressing that works well on greens or pasta. Rather than the usual cocktail sauce, try it as a dip for cooked prawns and tofu cubes. Drizzle some on plain rice or add it to meatloaf instead of Worcestershire sauce. Japanese cooks use ponzu as a dipping sauce for sashimi and sushi, as well as a flavor booster for everything from soup to meat, poultry, and fish.

Traditional ponzu is a thin, watery sauce, so leave the thickener out if you’re using it as a marinade or in Japanese food. However you put it to work, this versatile sauce is a winner. It’s also gluten-free, unlike the additive-laden commercial version found in restaurants and stores. The bottled kind is convenient, but I prefer homemade because it tastes so much better. It’s bolder and fresher.

One of the harder parts of this diet is giving up convenience food, especially the condiments and sauces that add variety to the odds and ends in the refrigerator. Try making a new sauce once a week and you’ll be surprised by how many ways you can use it on a daily basis, and much it will expand your flavor options.

Ponzu Sauce

Makes 1 1/3 cups (320 ml), adapted from “The Grilling Book”

1 cup (240 ml) fresh orange juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) dry sherry
1/4 cup (60 ml) tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar or 1/3 cup (80 ml) dextrose
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons (10 ml) water
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) sweet rice flour

Add all the ingredients except the rice flour and water to a small, heavy sauce pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir until the sugar dissolves and the sauce boils. Boil the sauce until it reduces to 1 1/3 cups (320 ml). Remove the pan from the heat. In a small bowl, stir the water and rice flour until a smooth paste forms. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the paste into the sauce. Whisk until the sauce is smooth, then return the sauce to a boil. Continue stirring the sauce until it thickens, about 1 to 2 minutes. Cool the sauce and refrigerate until ready to use.

Salad Dressing

1/2 cup (120 ml) Ponzu Sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 40 ml) olive oil, or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) water, or more, to thin sauce if needed

Combine ponzu sauce and olive oil in a glass jar with a lid. Tighten the lid securely and shake until blended. If needed, add water, a tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, until the dressing is the consistency you prefer. Toss with pasta or salad greens.