testing: mayu recipe from Serious Eats

Recipe by Serious Eats. Find the original recipe here

Bitter as hell and basically unpalatable alone, a little drizzle of mayu adds a lot of depth of flavor to ramen. This recipe is particularly acrid, but really suits broths on the sweeter side.

For this recipe, you will need a lot of garlic–especially if you double the recipe as I did. I went ahead and bought some pre-peeled garlic to save time. 20 garlic cloves??? Not today.

Step 1: peel (or unpackage) and mince.

Pre-Peeled Garlic
20 Cloves of Garlic
Minced Garlic Cloves

Put the minced garlic in a pan with oil. Per the recipe, cook on medium-low until you see signs of browning (as in the third picture). I cranked up my burner closer to medium until it got to this point.

Garlic with Oil
Heating Garlic in Oil
Garlic Beginning to Brown

During the browning stages, I turned the heat down a bit. Stir at least every minute or so. You may notice as the garlic starts to crisp up the pieces will float to the top of the oil. If it feels like you’re stirring a bowl of cocoa pebbles, you’re on the right track. As it gets closer to black, the pieces will start sticking and clumping together more. Once black, remove from heat entirely and transfer to a bowl.

Golden Brown Garlic
Dark Brown Garlic
Blackened Garlic

Next add your roasted/toasted sesame oil. Make sure it is roasted or toasted. It is much different than plain sesame oil. Plain sesame oil looks like any other vegetable oil. Toasted or roasted sesame oil is a deep, golden brown. I took some pictures to compare.

I missed a few pictures for the next step. Imagine that I added sesame oil (toasted) to the bowl, added the mixture to a blender, and then blended ‘er up. The result would be the third picture below.

Keep in mind! It is super important to know your blender’s minimum volume to blend. Otherwise, you may be stuck with sticky goop that just won’t blend. Doubling the recipe brought the mixture just to the tops of the blades which was just enough to get whirling. This is in a Vitamix with a 64oz container. If you have a smaller blender (or know it can blend smaller amounts) you may be OK using the original recipe (half of what I made).
Sesame Oils
Toasted Sesame Oil Comparison
Blended Mayu

All blended up and looking good! Notice how small the specks are. Love it. There is a bit of foam at the top, but it will settle.

Foamy Blended Mayu
Small Particles in Mayu

Here’s a shot of the mayu the next day, foam all settled. If you need to use the mayu immediately, the foam won’t hurt anything and you’ll hardly see it when serving.

Mayu Black Garlic Oil
Mayu Recipe to Drizzle on Ramen

Overall, this mayu was extremely bitter–even for mayu. I think the toasted sesame oil played a huge part in that. That being said, it brought wonderful flavor and balance to the particular bowl of ramen I used it on which was a bit on the sweet side. The bitterness really helped to cut the sweetness.

This isn’t my end-all mayu recipe, but it certainly pairs well with particular bowls.

recipe: mayu from Serious Eats


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 20 garlic cloves
  • 12/ cup roasted sesame oil


    View instructions and the full recipe at Serious Eats

Something to consider… The original recipe notes that the mayu can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 months. However, it could be at risk of botulism. As far as I know, botulism spores are killed at 250°. I am not certain if the garlic reaches this temperature during the preparation of this recipe. I personally do not risk it, and try to use it up as quickly as possible. If anyone has any insight on this, please comment to let me know!
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