Japanese ingredients for your healthy life

Cooking Mentsuyu

What you can buy

There are a few companies producing mentsuyu so if you are not in Japan you would probably see major companiesf producing mentsuyu such as Kikkoman, Yamasa, Momoya and Yamaki. They should all be good, as you know mentsuyu is an easy sauce to make! You could make it yourself if you have only three ingredients, soy sauce, mirin and dashi:)


Here is the recipe for making mentsuyu:


  • Soy sauce 100ml
  • Mirin 100ml
  • Dashi stock 10g


Put some mirin in a pot with medium heat. When it is boiling, let it go for a few minutes so that the alcohol in the mirin will evaporate. Add some soy sauce and simmer for a while, and when you see lots of little bubbles around the side, stop the heat. Add some dashi and mix it around and it will be done!


Just to note for you, Ifll explain what mirin and dashi are.
Mirin is a form of rice wine like sake. The key difference is that there is slightly less alcohol and this is replaced with more sugar, making it quite good for cooking. True mirin, known as hon mirin, has about 14% alcohol and is made using a fermentation process like all wines and it takes about sixty days to make. The second type of mirin is known as shio mirin which contains some alcohol and salt also. The last type is shin mirin which has just a little alcohol in it. The mirin variations of true mirin are usually made as a way of bringing down the price of the finished product. Any Japanese food that contains alcohol is taxed based on the proportion of alcohol it has, this means that mirin with less alcohol doesnft have to pay as much tax. These forms are still good and usually retain mirin flavours, but are not as good as true mirin. In some areas, mirin is actually made with shochu giving it a distinctive sweet taste.


Dashi is a traditional Japanese stock with many health benefits which is used to form the base of many japanese dishes, especially soups and nimono. There are various types of dashi that are used with various health benefits and each one suits different styles of foods and tastes such as niboshi (made from sardines), shiitake (made from dried shiitake mushrooms), katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) to name but a few. These stocks have many health benefits and are delicious and an essential part of the Japanese diet, theyfre not too difficult to make on your own and can also be easily purchased from shops selling Japanese foods. Japanese dashi is made by using a combination of kelp (rich in glutamic acid), dried bonito flakes (rich in inosinic acid) and shiitake mushroom (rich in guanylate) so there are many health benefits. The basic method behind making dashi is boiling all of these or soaking in water for a long period of time to extract the health benefits.

Easy to find and use

Itfs very easy to find mentsuyu in the shops. If you are living in Japan then of course you can just wander on down to any supermarket in the country and shelves of mentsuyu will be present for you to choose from. If you live abroad then finding some mentsuyu to buy shouldnft be too difficult if you are in an urban centre. Most Japanese supermarkets and most asian grocery stores stock and sell mentsuyu as it is a very important Japanese ingredient.


Everyone knows about Kikkoman, Yamasa is very famous just because you see them at the supermarket normally nowadays. However, there are two other companies that are very common and loved in Japan, which are Soumi and Ninben. If you are planning to visit Japan one day, you could visit them, they are doing demonstrations and sampling.


Here are Soumi and Ninben companies information:


Soumi is located in Kyoto and they are actually used to produce mentsuyu for business use before. Since their taste got famous they started manufacturing not only for businesses and in the recent years they have been producing some donburi sauces too. They were established in 1950 which is still young but they got known very quickly that makes us think the taste must be good? Because it is in Kyoto, those kansai (south Japan) people use it a lot.


Ninben was founded in 1699 and has a long history. Ninben is a katsuobushi (bonito flakes) company. They are very famous for katsuobushi so they even have a course of bonito flake making for visitors. They are located in Tokyo so often kantou (north Japan) people use Ninben mentsuyu. The dashi flavour and aroma should be really good just because of the dashi (fish stock) they mainly make and are specialized for dashi as you NEED katsuobushi for making dashi.


Using mentsuyu is easy and really th\he sky's the limit. Because the three base ingredients, sugar, mirin and sugar are capable of being used with almost anything, mentsuyu truly does go with almost anything. Mentsuyu is certainly known perhaps most of all as the king accompaniment to noodles. A popular use for mentsuyu is to put a little mentsuyu in with some water and add in a little wasabi to taste. Mix the wasabi in with the water and mentsuyu then dip whatever noodles you have prepared into it. If this is your first time, then Ifd recommend starting with about a 70% water 30% mentsuyu mix and then if that isnft strong enough, gradually add in more mentsuyu till itfs just right for you. This little dish is super easy and really hits the spot in the summer when people tend to shy away from big stogy meals because of the heat.


Of course going with the main major companies is good but if you get a chance then please try these Ninben and Soumi companiesf mentsuyu too. You may find them at the Asian supermarket. Whatever brand you go with, it should be good, just try a few and stick with the one you like.