Kaffir Lime Kosho (Japanese Fusion Green Chilli Paste)

This kaffir lime kosho is my little twist on the classic Japanese citrus chilli condiment, Yuzu Kosho, using some of my favourite South East Asian ingredients.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

green chilli paste in white bowl with lime and lime leaves
kaffir lime kosho

Yuzu Kosho

I got the inspiration for today’s recipe from a very popular Chinese condiment, Yuzu Kosho. Yuzu is an East Asian citrus that is popular in Japan and Korea. It is thought to be a cross between the mandarin orange and the less common ichang papeda.

You can read more about Yuzu on this article on LinsFood, my other food blog.

Yuzu is sweet, tart and bitter, all at once. And these qualities are transferred on to the condiment mentioned above, Yozu kosho.

Yuzu kosho is made with the zest of yuzus, chillies and salt and left to ferment for a few days before being enjoyed. Traditionally, yuzu kosho is stirred into hotpots, noodles and soups to pep them up. But there are so many other ways to use it too that we will address below. Let’s take a look at today’s recipe first.

Kaffir Lime Kosho Recipe

I had so many kaffir limes lying around from my plant and I was trying to think of ways to use them besides the usual Thai curry pastes and salad dressings.

Then rather fortuitously, I got an email from a reader asking for a kosho recipe. A lightbulb moment later, I thought, why not. Perfect way to enjoy the zest of the kaffir lime!

So I started with the traditional kosho recipe (citrus zest + chillies + salt). Then I added a little more South East Asian slant to it with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. The lemongrass enhanced the citrusy notes of the kosho while the leaves just helped to take the flavour home, so to speak.

You can increase the number of chillies or use something much hotter or milder, to adjust the heat. I’m using birds eye type chillies, that are fairly hot.

Just a word to the wise: you don’t get much of the chilli paste, as the bulk of the kosho is made up of citrus zest. And there isn’t much of it to be had off the fruit, no matter what fruit you’re using.

If you have able bodied minions, get them to zest 100 limes to make a full jar!

Kaffir Lime, leaves and flower buds

No Kaffir Lime?

No sweat. Just use the zest of any large lime you can get your hands on and omit the leaves if those are unavailable. The recipe itself is very easy, it’s a case of grinding it all up with a pestle and mortar.

The chopper will definitely not do for this one, I’m afraid. You want to squeeze the essential oils and flavour from your ingredients and electric blades just won’t do that. You know I’m a huge fan of choppers in the kitchen, it’s very rare that I say don’t use it, but this is one of those times!

The most tedious part of making this kaffir lime kosho (or any kosho) is not the grinding but the actual zesting of the fruit. If you can zest 20 limes (or 100!), then by all means, make a bigger batch, just adjust the ingredients accordingly.

dipping sushi in kaffir lime kosho and soy sauce mix
dipping sushi in kaffir lime kosho and soy sauce mix

How to use Kaffir Lime Kosho?

It’s a very strong and very salty condiment. So just bear that in mind first. It can also be pretty spicy, depending on what, and how many chillies you used in your recipe. Essentially, a little goes a long way. You can use it as a condiment, as well as an ingredient.

Kosho tastes better after a few days, when it’s had a chance to ferment slightly. So resist the temptation and give it at least a day before you dig in.

Use kaffir lime kosho:

  • to enhance any soup or noodle dishes you are having, as it is enjoyed traditionally. Soupy noodles will especially be good, whether it’s a local one like mee soto or the Japanese ramen. Perfect with steamboat.
  • in a salad dressing. Lighten it with some lime juice or rice vinegar, add a little extra virgin olive oil, and you are good to go. Taste it, if it’s too salty, add a splash of water.
  • as a spicy sandwich spread.
  • to marinate your meats and seafood.
  • as a condiment served with grilled or fried food. It goes equally well with meat and seafood.
  • top oysters with it – this is one of my favourite ways with this kaffir lime kosho or the original yuzu kosho.
  • as a dip. This can be on its own, or sitting on a bed of soy sauce or a mix of rice vinegar and fish/soy sauce, as in the sushi picture on this page. But just don’t forget that this combination is very salty, which is perfect with sushi. You can use it as a dip with anything really: spring rolls, sausages or any finger food that comes to mind.

And that’s all there is to it. Shall we get grinding?

If you like the recipe and article, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you! 

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

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green chilli paste in white bowl with lime and lime leaves
kaffir lime kosho
kaffir lime kosho green chilli paste

Kaffir Lime Kosho (Japanese Fusion Green Chilli Paste)

Azlin Bloor
Kaffir lime kosho recipe, a deliciously citrusy and spicy condiment that you are just going to love. Use it as a dip or an ingredient!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Condiments
Cuisine fusion
Servings 4 (about 2 Tablespoons)
Calories 15 kcal


  • knife
  • chopping board
  • grater or citrus zester
  • pestle and mortar (batu lesung or batu giling)


  • 12 kaffir limes can be substituted with any limes you can get
  • 3 green birds eye chillies (or any green ones you have)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves omit if unavailable
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice any lime but NOT Kaffir lime juice which is too bitter for consumption


  • Zest your kaffir limes with a citrus zester (microplane), straight into your mortar.
    12 kaffir limes
  • Finely chop your chillies. The finer your chillies now, the easier it will be to grind them to a paste. Tip into the mortar.
    3 green birds eye chillies
  • Top and tail the lemongrass and lose the first 2 layers. We are only going to use the softer, middle part. Finely chop for the same reason as above. Add to the mortar.
    You can read more about how to use lemongrass in this article.
    1 stalk lemongrass
  • Lose the middle vein in your kaffir lime leaves and using a pair of scissors, snip them straight into the mortar.
    4 kaffir lime leaves
  • Add the salt and sugar to the mortar and grind away (round and round) until you get a fine paste.
    1 tsp salt, pinch white sugar
  • Stir in the lime juice and store, covered, in the fridge. While you can eat it immediately, it's best enjoyed at least a day after.
    Will keep in the fridge for a month, but there's so little of it, you'd be wishing you'd made more!
    1 Tbsp fresh lime juice


Serving: 0.5TbspCalories: 15kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 694mgPotassium: 35mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
Keyword chilli paste, kaffir lime kosho, spicy
Tried this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor or tag #linsfood!
Made it? Upload your Photos!Mention @azlinbloor or tag #linsfood!

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