Chef Peter Tempelhoff reveals the secret delights of ponzu

Chef Peter Tempelhoff reveals the secret delights of ponzu
Tuna tataki dressed with Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s homemade ponzu. (Photo: Supplied)

Every week in TGIFood, a professional chef is asked to share a recipe with our readers. Today, Peter Tempelhoff, of FYN and beyond restaurants, and his Ramenhead franchise, shares his prized recipe for ponzu.

The first time I tasted ponzu was at the Greenhouse in Constantia when Peter Tempelhoff was executive chef there. Many years have past since, yet it remains a favourite preparation of his, and for good reason.

Ponzu is a citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japan as a seasoning, dressing or dipping sauce. Today, in the very first edition of our new Cook With The Chefs series, he shares his own recipe for ponzu with TGIFood readers.

Ponzu sauce can be bought commercially, or you can use Tempelhoff’s recipe to make your own at home.

Peter Tempelhoff has risen to become one of South Africa’s most prominent chefs not only at home but in the wider world. His FYN restaurant in the Cape Town CBD is the first stand-alone Relais & Châteaux restaurant in South Africa as well as in Africa.

His Constantia restaurant, beyond, is a real trend-setter in its own right, where exciting new things are in the offing. We wrote about it here and we’ll visit it again when these intriguing new horizons are introduced. 

At ground level in town, Ramenhead packs them in, and that is where the seared tuna tataki recipe in the photo above can be found. Most recently, he launched a second Ramenhead at the TimeOut Market at the V&A Waterfront.

Peter Tempelhof at FYN. (Photo: Bruce Tuck)

Tempelhoff explains: “This is one of the variations of the ponzu. We simply combined fried onions, garlic and peanuts with ponzu and served it over freshly seared tuna tataki, umami aioli, grated radish and sesame seed tempura. The combination is incredible.”

As is every morsel of food made by this fine chef and his team at FYN, beyond and Ramenhead in central Cape Town and the Waterfront.

Tempelhoff also offered some tips when cooking with ponzu: 

  • Add yuzu last to retain maximum citrus flavour;
  • If you wish to make a gel, add 10g of agar-agar to the infused soy mixture (see recipe below). Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to just over simmering stage for 30 sec to 1 min, stirring continuously to activate the agar. Take it off the heat and allow to set in the fridge for 30 min or until set. Once set, blend with yuzu juice in an OmniBlender until smooth. Vac the mixture in a vac pack machine to remove all the air bubbles.
  • Alternatively, whisk ponzu with Ultratex (a thickener made with tapioca starch) until thick. Be careful not to add too much Ultratex.


Chef Pete gives his recommended brands in parentheses.

(Makes 523 ml) 


165 g mirin (Takara Hon)

30 g spring onions / shallots 

13 g garlic 

20 g ginger 

10 g kombu

50 g brown sugar 

30 g rice wine vinegar (Mizkan)

165 ml soy sauce (Yamasa) 

40 g yuzu (good quality, green bottle)


Burn off the alcohol from the mirin. 

Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a sauce pot. Heat the mixture slightly to allow the sugar to dissolve. 

Add the mirin.

Finely slice spring onion, garlic and ginger. 

Add the kombu (edible kelp) and sliced veg to the warm liquid and allow to infuse overnight.

Strain out the kombu and veg. 

Add the yuzu to the infused soy.

Yuzu is an east Asian citrus fruit. The juice can be bought online from stores such as Waza. DM

FYN restaurant

Beyond restaurant

Peter Tempelhoff on Instagram


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Brian Hutton says:

    I am really forward to this new series of recipes. This first one already has my taste buds going, something I haven’t tasted before.

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