La-yu is chili oil made of hot chili peppers, roasted sesame oil, and other exotic spices, which is often used to add spicy and sesame oil’s aroma for gyoza dipping sauce, ramen soup, mainly Chinese dishes, and tofu dishes in Japan.
There are many recipes, yet, Layu is seemed to make by simmering several kinds of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and other spices in oil.
Japanese La-yu has the iconic red color and is not super spicy-with well-balanced aromatic sesame oil and mild chili flavor.
As you can imagine Layu had been introduced from China to Japan and started producing in Okinawa prefecture.
But, today, I am not going deeper into the history and “what’s Layu” topics.
Anyway, Japanese Layu is the staple condiment like you guys use Tabasco sauce.
Oh, by the way, Layu is not for cooking just in case you don’t know.
Most Popular Layu
Today, it is not hard to get Japanese Layu in the US grocery store.
The most popular Layu product is S&B Layu which is the first “Chinese oil” product to come out in Japan. (Then, it changed the name to Layu, later. )
The standard type (which doesn’t contain chili pepper flakes in the bottle) is mild-spicy with a rich roasted sesame oil aroma.
(For those who love hot spicy food, it is not spicy.)
If you like spicy, get S&B Layu contains chili pepper flakes in the oil.
Momoya Taberu Layu may be more popular outside of Japan as Layu.
Personally, I am not a big fan of “taberu Layu” line ups, however, it is the popular Layu and brought the “Layu boom” around 2009, in Japan.
Taberu Layu literally means “the chili oil for eating”, which refers to “this is the Layu that is not only as a hot sauce but also dipping sauce containing crunchy fried onions and garlic”. (translated by Rico.lol.)
It is not spicy, has strong fried onions and garlic flavor, and has rich roasted sesame oil.
Ishigaki Jima Layu was a trigger to “the Layu boom” in 2000, before Momoya Taberu Layu.
Ishigaki Jima island is the second largest island in Okinawa, and Penguin Shokudo is the pioneer of Ishigaki Jima Layu.
It is made of local chili peppers, salt, peppers, and cumin produced in Ishigaki Jima and Okinawa island. It contains other ingredients and spices such as black pepper, Sichuan pepper, brown sugar, garlic, etc.
Penguin Shokudo Ishigaki Jima Layu is all handmade, and it is still popular since it has a rich aroma, mild-spicy, and mild flavor of garlic.
Well, it has not been popularly imported in the US as looking at the price on Amazon, get the one when you travel to Japan or Okinawa islands…
Or you can ask your friends who live in Japan to get one.
Layu Or Rayu???
I am wondering too.
Well, the Japanese alphabet doesn’t contain ‘L” since “L” and “R” have the same pronunciation.
The Japanese “R” sounds “L” in English, so the spelling of “Layu” may make sense based on the pronunciation, however, it can be spelled “Rayu” based on the Japanese alphabet.
And, “Layu” and “Rayu” are exactly the same meaning in Japanese.
I use “Layu” because S&B uses it.
My husband and I love spicy food and almost always spice up any dishes, especially, he loves using Layu for everything such as dumplings, deep-fried food such as Karaage chicken, Tonkatsu, and noodles dishes.
We always have stocks of S&B Layu, so I don’t need to make homemade Layu.
When I introduce one of the freezing hacks in this post-the chili pepper and garlic mix to freeze, this gave me a hint of making homemade Layu.
It’s more interesting to make Layu than the chili garlic oil. (don’t get me wrong, it is a great oil to spice up instantly.)
- ¼ cup garlic chili pepper mix *1)
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup roasted sesame oil
- 0.2 oz fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp red hot chili pepper flakes
- ½ Star Anise
- ½ TSP Sichuan pepper
- ½ TSP vinegar
- 1 TSP Salt
- 1 TSP Dark soy sauce
- 1 TSP raw cane sugar
- Gather ingredients. Make my chili and garlic mix. My chili garlic mix recipe.Korean roasted sesame oilSichuan pepper
- *When using frozen chili garlic mix, cook them for a few minutes to thaw before adding the oil.
- In a skillet, add the vegetable oil, chili & garlic mix, red hot chili pepper flakes, Star Anise, and Sichuan pepper.
- LOW HEAT. Simmer the ingredients in the oil for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, and add sesame oil, soy sauce, salt & sugar, and vinegar. Let the Layu cool.
- Transfer to a clean jar. It can keep at room temperature, yet, consume within a month. Store it in the fridge if you want to keep it for another month. *if you want to keep the Layu longer, avoid adding sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar.
How To Use Japanese Layu
Basically, you can drizzle Japanese Layu on any dish or sauce if desired.
This oil is mainly used for adding to finished dishes or dipping sauce for dumplings and Japanese hot pot dishes.
Add it over noodle dishes such as Ramen, yakisoba, Udon, Soba, and Somen noodles. It also often adds flavor to tofu dishes.
Find Recipes From Japanmcconnell.com
- Japanese Hot pot Toridango Nabe
- Instant Ramen
- Okinawa Somen Chanpuru
- Karaage Chicken
- Sesame Seared Tuna
- pork cutlet
- Yamitsuki Cabbage
- Tofu Steak
Japanese Layu can provide rich sesame oil and chili flavor with milder hor spiciness, (except for my homemade Layu which is spicy.)
Note that Japanese Layu is not really hot sauce compared with Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce, and it is OIL, so be careful to eat too much.
Summer Cold Tofu Salad With Homemade Japanese Layu
- 6 oz Tofu (silk or firm) *½ package
- 4 medium tomatoes, minced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2-3 tbsp Homemade Layu
- Gather ingredients. Read the post on how to make homemade Layu.
- Prepare the tofu: Remove the tofu from the package, and drain and rinse the tofu. Cut the tofu in a half. *It does not need to remove excess moisture from the tofu. How to store the rest of the tofu: Place it in a container and fill it with enough water to cover it. Cover and store it in the fridge. Consume within 3 days.
- Cut the tofu into your favorite size. Place them on a serving platter.
- Dress with minced tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Drizzle homemade Layu.
- Serve immediately.