Japanese food uses many kinds of seasonings, but it is hard to prepare all of them. Also, it takes time and effort to make dashi (Japanese soup stock) every time.
That’s why mentsuyu is useful for home cooking. Mentsuyu means soba & udon noodle soup base, but it can be used for various dishes. Mentsuyu contains dashi, soy sauce, mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), sugar, and so on.
Recipes using mentsuyu
Using mentsuyu, you can quickly make the following dishes.
- Soba (buckwheat noodles) soup (just dilute it with water)
- Udon noodles soup (just dilute it with water)
- Somen noodles soup (just dilute it with water)
- Tempura sauce (just add mirin and water)
- Nikujaga (simmered meat and potatoes)
- Oyakodon (chicken and egg bowl)
- Gyudon (beef bowl)
- Nitsuke (Japanese simmerd fish)
- Simmered potatoes
I’m going to publish these simple home recipes. Click each to see the recipe.
How to get mentsuyu
Mentsuyu may be expensive if purchased outside Japan. You can also purchase Yamaki’s mentsuyu at Amazon.com but in Japan it is less than U.S. 2 dollars. I recommend buying it at an imported food store or when traveling to Japan.
In Japan, you can buy it at any supermarket, convenience store or drugstore.
Product names of mentsuyu vary, but always include the word “つゆ”.
How to use mentsuyu
Mentsuyu is usually concentrated. For example, in the case of 3-fold concentrated mentsuyu, dilute with water as follows.
Dipping sauce of noodles: x3 (mentsuyu : water = 1:2)
(Soba or udon) noodle soup: x6
Simmerd fish: x2
Nikujaga (simmered meat and potatoes): x5
Oden soup: x14
Recommended mentsuyu brand
The mentsuyu I recommend is “Tsuyu no Moto” from “NINBEN” (top image). NINBEN located in Tokyo is a katsuobushi (bonito flakes) manufacturer founded in 1699. Because of this history, the flavor of katsuobushi is exceptional and you can achieve an authentic taste. You can buy it at supermarkets and drugstores in Japan.
The taste of mentsuyu differs depending on the region. Soumi’s mentsuyu is famous in Kyoto.
If these products are difficult to obtain, Kikkoman and Yamaki mentsuyu are also recommended.