The perfect mayo for drizzling on Tofu nuggets or on a Japanese-inspired sushi bowl! This Vegan Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise is really easy to make, and will give you the yummy, nostalgic Kewpie Mayo flavor you've been missing. Made with aquafaba (chickpea water) instead of eggs, this yummy Japanese style mayo is cruelty free, and thrifty too. * Bonus, I also include a 'cheat' way to transform your existing store-bought vegan mayo to Kewpie style too!
Kewpie Mayo is a Japanese brand of mayonnaise that has reached cult status and for good reason. It's richer than regular mayo, but somehow lighter too. It's the perfect pairing for sushi bowls, on okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes) and makes a great addition to a sandwich or burger.
Sadly, it is hard to get the vegan version, so I was inspired to try and make my own after making these Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets and thinking about how delicious they would be paired together with some Japanese Okomoyiaki BBQ sauce. (and they were!). I've also drizzled the vegan kewpie mayo onto fritters like these Courgette and Sweetcorn Fritters. Totally delicious.
The difference between regular mayo, and Japanese Mayonnaise lies mostly in the flavorings.
- Aquafaba: The cooking water from chickpeas, aquafaba contains proteins that when whipped become similar to eggwhites. It's perfect for making mayonnaise (and other things like cakes and meringues)
- Kala Namak: Known as Black Salt, this salt naturally contains a sulfurous compound that adds a distinctive 'Eggy' flavour to cooking. We use it here to replicate the extra rich egg yolks that are typically used in Japanese mayonnaise.
- Rice Vinegar: Ordinary mayo uses white wine vinegar or lemon juice. The rice vinegar is slightly sweeter and lighter with a distinctive flavour.
- Powdered Kelp Dashi: Japanese mayonnaise typically includes some dashi, which is a kind of stock. It adds an umami flavour that is addictive and delicious. I use a vegan Kombu Kelp Dashi Stock Powder. ather than the other type which can contain fish.
- Dijon Mustard: a little Dijon mustard helps the overall flavor, but also helps the mayo to emulsify.
- Lemon Juice: A little squeeze of lemon juice adds flavor and brightness.
- Neutral Oil: It's essential to use a neutral flavored oil to make this mayo. Olive oil or similar will overpower the other subtle flavors.
- Sugar: Japanese Mayo is typically a tiny bit sweet. Add cautiously.
- Salt: The Kelp Dashi is quite salty, so only add a little sea salt at the end, and taste to see how the overall flavour balance is.
See recipe card for quantities and full method.
- Gather your ingredients. Be sure to choose a vegan kelp dashi powder as this gives the distinctive flavour.
2. In a tall glass or tumbler (or your blender) add the aquafaba (chickpea water, mustard and seasonings.
3. Blend the aquafaba and seasonings until it becomes bubbly. Start slowly add the oil into the mixture in a thin drizzle.
4. Keep adding the oil bit by bit, and blending until the mayonnaise thickens and emulsifies. Taste and add a little sugar/salt or lemon juice. Blend again and taste.
Taste, taste and taste again to get the perfect balance of flavours! Be cautious at first with the salt, as different types of dashi brands are more salty than others.
Hint: If you have one of those blenders that is more of a capsule and has to be unscrewed add 2 tablespoon of oil at a time, blend, then add, blend, etc until you get the desired mayonnaise texture.
If you don't want to make your own vegan Kewpie Mayo from scratch, you can cheat a little!
In a small bowl or jar, pop 100g or half a cup of your favourite brand of vegan mayonnaise, and add to it:
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon kala namak (black salt)
- ½ teaspoon kelp dashi powder.
Mix and taste then use on your favourite vegan Japanese dish.
Once you know how to make your own mayo, it's hard to stop! Try these other fun variations.
- Wasabi- add some wasabi paste to taste. Go as hot as you dare. Put on everything.
- Spicy: Add some sriracha sauce, you can just add to this recipe for a more Japanese twist, or why not try out my garlicky Vegan Sriracha Mayo recipe.
- Yuzo: if you can get hold of the Japanese Citrus Yuzu, it would make a delicious flavour twist.
I find that Hand Held Stick Blender that you can move up and down in a tall beaker or glass works best, as you want to be able to drizzle the oil into the beaker as you blend. You can also use a jug blender or a food processor, but as these are large, you might end up making a huge quantity of mayo!
This mayo recipe keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three weeks. It will not freeze well. I like to store mine into an old squeezy bottle (such as an old ketchup bottle) so you can squeeze it out over your meal, just like you can with kewpie mayo!
It's worth waiting until the last step to add salt and/or sugar. Different brands of kelp dashi stock will be more or less salty than others. Taste, add and taste again!
Ordinary Kewpie Mayo is not vegan as it contains eggs. Egg free/vegan Kewpie mayo is available, however it is not widely sold around the world. This recipe is an easy way to replicate the flavour.
Traditionally mayonnaise is made with eggs, which makes it not vegan. Vegan mayonnaise is made without eggs, it is easy to make and just as delicious however.
Love to add dips and sauces to everything? Try these condiment ideas.
Vegan Japanese Food:
Do you love Japanese food as much as I do? Try these!
Vegan Kewpie Mayonnaise
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
- 3 tablespoon Aquafaba (aka chickpea cooking water eg from a tin of chickpeas. )
- 100 ml (½ cups) Sunflower Oil ( you might need more)
- ½ teaspoon kala namak
- 1 teaspoon kelp dashi powder (make sure to use a vegan dashi.)
- 15 ml Lemon Juice (about the juice from half a lemon)
- 15 ml rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar (or a little more to taste)
- In a blender or more preferably)a long beaker with a hand held immersion blender start whizzing up the aquafaba (Chickpea juice) with the kala namak, kelp dashi powder & dijon mustard3 tablespoon Aquafaba, ½ teaspoon kala namak, 1 teaspoon kelp dashi powder, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- Let it whizz around until becomes foamy.
- With the motor on, add in a thin stream the sunflower oil, carefully blending and adding more oil.100 ml Sunflower Oil
- It should start looking like very thin cream, keep adding oil, it will start to thicken up.
- Add the lemon juice, rice wine vinegar and salt and sugar to taste.15 ml Lemon Juice, 15 ml rice wine vinegar, salt to taste, ½ teaspoon sugar
- Whizz again and add more lemon juice or salt as needed.
- It's not an exact science, and you'll know when you reach the right 'flavour' and consistency.
- Keep adjusting, maybe adding bit more oil & whipping more to thicken the mayo up.
- Serve on everything, or store in an airtight container in the fridge.
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