Tosazu (土佐酢) is a vinegar dressing/seasoning made by adding bonito dashi (i.e soup stock) to sanbaizu (a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, mirin).
The name is simply a combination of the words “Tosa” (土佐 , an old province in Japan), and “Zu” (or “su”, 酢 , i.e. rice vinegar). Tosa is famous for its bonito (i.e katsuo かつお), which is the key ingredient used in tosazu.
Read on to learn more interesting info about tosazu, like:
- What does tosazu taste like
- How to make your own tosazu,
- Recipes and dishes that use tosazu
- and more…
Let’s get cooking!
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What Does Tosazu Taste Like?
Tosazu is simply sanbaizu (三杯酢) with bonito fish stock added in.
Sanbaizu (vinegar, soy sauce, mirin) has a tangy, savory, and slightly sweet taste. I sort of tastes like a vinaigrette salad dressing.
Tosazu has a much milder vinegar/acidic taste compared to sanbaizu, but more umami thanks to the addition of the bonito dashi. It possibly tastes something like vinaigrette with seafood broth mixed in (I’ve never tried mixing these two things together before, please let me know if you do).
The only way to really understand how tosazu tastes, is to try some yourself. 🙃
Here’s how to make it:
How to Make Tosazu
Tosazu is quite easy to make. All you need is five ingredients and a pot/stove. Here is a simple recipe taken from Delish Kitchen (Japanese).
Tosazu Recipe (土佐酢)Course: Dressing, SeasoningCuisine: JapaneseDifficulty: Easy
Easy tosazu vinegar dressing recipe from Delish Kitchen
Small pot / stove
Fine mesh filter / Strainer
Spoon (or something to mix with)
Vinegar … 2 tbsp
Mirin … 2 tbsp
Light soy sauce … 2 tbsp
Dried bonito flakes (i.e. katusobushi) … 3g
Water … 60 ml
- Mix all ingredients except the bonito flakes in a pot.
- Add the bonito flakes in.
- Bring to boil over medium heat, then turn off the heat.
- Strain out the bonito flakes.
- Let the tosazu cool down, and enjoy!
- If you don’t have light Japanese soy sauce (i.e. usukuchi shoyu), you can also use dark/all-purpose soy sauce, although the taste will be a bit different
Recipes that use Tosazu
Tosazu is commonly used as a dressing/sauce for aemono (和え物) — Japanese style salads or side dishes which are typically served cold.
You can use tosazu in place of sanbaizu or other vinegar for most aemono and tsukemono recipes. Here are some nice recipes that I found around the web:
- Oysters with Tosazu by RecipeTin Japan
- Sunomono recipe by JapaneseCooking101
- Octopus and Cucumber Sunomono by Sudachi Recipes
- Black Cod with Tosazu by Kikkoman USA
Where to Buy Tosazu
Tosazu is easily purchasable in most Japanese supermarkets.
If you’re not in Japan, you can try to search your local Asian supermarket. If they don’t have it, you can easily make it yourself (see above recipe).
If you’re too lazy to make tosazu yourself, then here are a few places online you can get some fancy authentic tosazu:
Is Tosazu Gluten Free?
No. Tosazu is typically not gluten free.
This is due to the fact that soy sauce is used, which contains wheat.
You would need to use a gluten-free soy sauce (e.g. tamari) to make tosazu gluten free.
What is the meaning of Tosazu?
Tosazu is a combination of the word Tosa (name of old province in southern Shikoku), and Zu (or “su”) which means vinegar. So, tosazu literally means “Tosa Vinegar”.
Tosa is famous for bonito, which is the main ingredient used in tosazu.
Have you ever tried tosazu before?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!