The Triton


Crew’s Mess: Easy ponzu sauce


Crew’s Mess: by Capt. John Wampler

One of the best things about working in the yacht industry is enjoying the fruits of the sea. Wahoo, mahi-mahi and tuna are frequent visitors to my cleaning table. Nothing is finer than a nice tenderloin of wahoo and a sharp knife.

I like a citrus ponzu sauce for dipping sushi. I started eating sushi in Guam when I was working as a charter boat captain. There are lots of sushi houses and I would sell yellowfin tuna to them.

I prefer ponzu with a California roll with cream cheese instead of soy sauce. Tuna tataki typically is served with ponzu, that’s where I first learned of it. Ponzu is sweeter soy with mirin, a sweet rice wine.

Ponzu can be made as a signature sauce with whatever juice you have, pureed mango strained with a cheesecloth, red grapefruit, or just lime and lemon. Any citrus juice works fine, I haven’t tried pomegranate but imagine it would be good. Plus, I just like to say ponzu.

It’s a great dipping sauce for cold noodles, salads, dumplings, grilled meats and fish, cold sliced meat or fish, or any number of other dishes. It’s fresh lemon and orange juices give this sauce a citrus snap.

This recipe is simple and beats store-bought ponzu hands down. It also makes a terrific marinade for steak. Enjoy. (Watch for The Triton in October for a companion recipe for dumplings, won-ton wraps with pork or chicken.)


Homemade ponzu sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium)
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon spring water
1 tablespoon mirin (a sweet Japanese rice wine)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Be creative and make your own signature dipping sauce by adding ginger or pureed mango.

Capt. John Wampler ( has worked on yachts for more than 30 years. His recipes are casual enough for anyone to prepare. Comments are welcome below.

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