Kanzuri is a special fermented chili paste condiment made by a family artisan producer (also called Kanzuri) in Myoko, heavy snow region of Niigata Prefecture, Japan.
It's made from red chili, yuzu (citrus) rind, rice koji (malted rice), and salt. Peppers are salt-marinated for several months after harvest then spread over the snow and left for 3-4 days to begin fermentation in the wintertime before they are mixed with other ingredients.
The sight of the spreading of peppers over the snow is something breathtaking. This process will remove the excess bitterness and saltiness from the pepper while increasing the natural sweetness. Snow-bathed peppers are then mixed with yuzu rind, koji, and additional salt, and aged for at least 3 years.
The flavor of kanzuri can be compared to yuzu-kosho, as they share the main ingredients (chili pepper, salt, and yuzu rind), but kanzuri is even richer in umami flavor from the aging process with rice koji, and milder in saltiness. Kanzuri can be enjoyed as a condiment for sashimi, grilled meat, fish, hot pot, stews, and more.
Comments by Naoko:
"I have been a big fan of Kanzuri for many years. I love it so much that I even have visited them to participate in the "chili spreading" work on a very snowy day in Myoko, Niigata. When I do a donabe hot pot dinner with 3 - 4 people, we can easily finish a bottle of it to enjoy with hot pot. Besides enjoying it straight as a condiment, I also like to mix it with soy sauce to serve as a dipping sauce for sashimi (especially with tuna), dumplings, etc. This is a must item in my home always."