Sanbaizu : The Basic Recipe and How to Use the Vinegar Sauce

Have you ever used or heard of a Japanese vinegar sauce, Sanbaizu (三杯酢)? Sanbaizu is a combined liquid seasoning unique to Japan and made with just 3 ingredients, so the basic way to make it is really simple and easy.

Sanbaizu vinegar sauce 

To get straight to the point, the 3 ingredients prepared for making Sanbaizu sauce are vinegar, Mirin cooking rice wine, and soy sauce. Instead of Mirin, sometimes sugar is also used for making the vinegar sauce.

The Japanese word, “Zu (酢)” refers to vinegar, so the main ingredient of Sanbai-Zu is vinegar and Sanbaizu is a kind of vinegar sauce.

The Basic Sanbaizu Recipe using Vinegar, Mirin, and Soy sauce

The Japanese word included in the name of the sauce, ”Bai (杯)” means “Sake cup”, or “Sakazuki”. As the meaning indicates, Sanbaizu was made with a Sake cup in the past.

Speaking of the first word “San (三)”, it means three in Japanese, so the Japanese vinegar sauce, San-bai-zu is literally made using a sake cup three times. This is why the mixing ratio of the three ingredients, Vinegar, Mirin, and Soy Sauce, for making the sauce, is traditionally 1 : 1 : 1.

However, in modern times, the mixing ratio of Vinegar, Mirin, and Soy Sauce is commonly 2 : 2 : 1. Either way, you just put these 3 seasonings in a bowl and stir well to make the vinegar sauce.

Vinegar Mirin Soy sauce
Traditional Sanbaizu 1 1 1
Common Sanbaizu 2 2 1

The Basic Sanbaizu Recipe using Vinegar, Soy sauce, and Sugar

If you want to make Sanbaizu sauce with sugar, instead of Mirin, the basic mixing ratio of vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar is 3 : 1 : 2. Mix up the 3 seasonings until sugar is dissolved in the liquid.

How to use Sanbaizu sauce

We use Sanbaizu sauce as a marinade or a dressing. As a marinade, the Japanese vinegar sauce goes well with fried fishes like horse mackerel, flounder, and sea bream. As a dressing, Sanbaizu matches well with fresh vegetables like cucumber and seaweed such as Mozuku.

In addition, as I wrote about it before, we Japanese often eat seaweed jelly noodles “Tokoroten (ところてん)” with Sanbaizu sauce in the summer season. The Japanese jelly noodles, Tokoroten has a pleasant refreshing look that is perfect for summer.

(Reference page of this article : Wikipedia 三杯酢 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

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