Lightly smoky and full of umami, Mentsuyu is a Japanese soup base used in a multitude of noodle dishes. You can easily make it at home with sake, mirin, soy sauce, and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes).

A mason jar containing Homemade Mentsuyu (Tsuyu) / Japanese Soup Base for Noodles.

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Mentsuyu (めんつゆ), or sometimes called Tsuyu (つゆ), is a Japanese soup base commonly used in soba and udon noodle dishes. Made from sake, mirin, soy sauce, kombu, and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), the flavor is delicate yet intensely savory.

What is Mentsuyu (Tsuyu) for?

In Japan, we use Mentsuyu as a basic sauce or broth to flavor everything from noodle dishes, rice bowls, hot pots to tempura dipping sauce.

The multipurpose sauce gets a real depth of flavor and smokiness from the use of kombu and bonito flakes. As it happens, these two ingredients are the elementary components to make dashi – the Japanese soup stock that characterize the distinct flavor of Japanese food.

In this recipe, soy sauce contributes to the savory tones, and mirin imparts sweetness that ties everything together.

Making Mentsuyu at home is as easy as combining all the ingredients in a pot and let it simmer down to a concentrated sauce. You can store it in a mason jar and keep in the refrigerator for up to a month. The sauce will come in handy when you need it to season your favorite noodle dishes.

When ready to use, you just need to thin it out with water! The ratios of Mentsuyu to water will differ depending on the recipes.

Hot Noodle Soup

A Japanese bowl containing Toshikoshi Soba Noodle Soup with fish cake and wakame seaweed.

To use Mentsuyu in a hot noodle soup, dilute it with water, heat it up, then pour over boiled noodles. This hot noodle soup broth is called Kaketsuyu (かけつゆ).

Cold Noodle Dipping Sauce

Two kinds of soba noodles served on a Japanese bamboo, garnished with shredded nori sheet.

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The Mentsuyu is diluted with water (sometimes no need to dilute), then serve with chilled noodles. This dipping sauce is called Tsuketsuyu (つけつゆ).

Store-Bought Mentsuyu Bottles

Mentsuyu / Tsuyu (Japanese Noodle Soup Base) | Easy Japanese Recipes at coral-beachresortsharjah.com

For convenience, you can purchase pre-made Mentsuyu from Japanese (or Asian) grocery stores or online.

Mentsuyu / Tsuyu (Japanese Noodle Soup Base) | Easy Japanese Recipes at coral-beachresortsharjah.com

Each brand has different instructions for diluting the Metsuyu. Find the usage guide on the bottle that looks like this. You can learn more about the Ratio of Tsuyu to Water on this page.

A mason jar containing Homemade Mentsuyu (Tsuyu) / Japanese Soup Base for Noodles.

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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You can also use Mentsuyu in these recipes:

Cold Tanuki Udon Noodles | Easy Japanese Recipes at coral-beachresortsharjah.com

Cold Tanuki Udon

Tsukemen Dipping Sauce in a bowl and Noodles on a side.

Tsukemen

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Zaru Soba | Easy Japanese Recipes at coral-beachresortsharjah.com

Zaru Soba

Yaki Udon on a plate.

Yaki Udon

Japanese Style Mushroom and Tuna Pasta on a white plate.

Mushroom and Tuna Japanese Style Pasta

Hiyayakko on plates.

Hiyayakko (Japanese Cold Tofu)

A dark bowl containing udon noodles in dashi broth topped with deep fried tofu, fish cake, green onion, and sprinkle of shichimi togarashi.

Kitsune Udon

A Japanese bowl containing avocado and negitoro (fatty tuna) on top of steamed rice.

Negitoro & Avocado Donburi

Refer: What Goes With French Onion Soup | Coral's Blog – Food Blog – Cooking Guide

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