When you think of Japanese cuisine, what comes to mind? Sushi and sashimi? Tempura and teriyaki? Or how about ramen and udon?
Well, there’s one more thing that no Japanese meal would be complete without: shichimi togarashi.
Shichimi togarashi is a spicy Japanese seasoning made from a blend of red chili pepper, roasted orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, hemp seed (or sometimes nori), ground ginger, ground sansho pepper and poppy seed.
In this article, I’ll teach you how to make your own seven-flavor spice blend at home as well as give you tips on where to find it if you don’t want to make it yourself.
Shichimi Togarashi Recipes
Before I give you the recipe for making your own shichimi tograsahi at home, let me tell you a little bit about why I decided it was important for me to make my own.
You might think that cooking is all about following instructions, but even seasoned chefs will tell you that the most important part of cooking is taste testing. When it comes to making your own blend of shichimi togarashi, there is no right or wrong way to make your mix. The good news is that there are plenty of recipes out there for you to choose from and adapt. Here’s the recipe we recommend:
1 ½ tablespoons (8 grams) sansho (Szechuan peppercorns)
2 tablespoons (6 grams) black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons (6 grams) white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon (3 grams) hemp seeds
1 teaspoon (3 grams) ground ginger
½ teaspoon (3 grams) ground nori
½ teaspoon (3 grams) orange peel powder
¼ teaspoon (1 gram) ground turmeric
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
For those of you who love Japanese food, you may be familiar with shichimi togarashi. It’s an essential condiment for Japanese cuisine and is a mixture of seven spices. Which spices are put into the mixture depends on the region of Japan it’s made in, but the most common combination is ground red chili peppers with roasted orange peel, sesame seeds, ginger, poppy seeds and seaweed.
The most famous blend comes from Kyoto and is called Nanairo — nanairo meaning “seven colors.” This mix is so popular that it even has its own museum dedicated to its history and use.
The mixture itself has a long history in Japan. In fact, it’s been around since the Edo period (1603–1868). During this time, it was used as a medicine for treating colds as well as an appetite stimulant. However, over time it became something that people ate along with their food, as many do today.
If you’re interested in making your own shichimi togarashi mix, here’s what you need:
A cool breeze is starting to waft through the streets of Tokyo, and it won’t be long before the first chilly days of fall make their appearance. But while we’re not quite ready to bust out our wool coats and hats, we can get a jump-start on warming our bodies with shichimi togarashi, or Japanese red chili pepper seasoning.
The spice mix is often used to sprinkle over bowls of ramen and other piping-hot noodle soups, but today we’re going to share a more unconventional recipe for using it: shichimi togarashi rice! The spice blend is a natural complement to rice with its savory flavor and just the right amount of heat, so let’s get started!
1 cup (180 ml) rice
1 teaspoon dried red chili peppers/red chili pepper flakes (if unavailable, ground black pepper will also work)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon ground sansho pepper (if unavailable, use ground black pepper)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (if unavailable, use fresh ginger)
1 teaspoon dried orange peel/zest (if unavailable, use lemon zest instead)
Shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spice mixture with seven ingredients, is one of the most versatile condiments you can keep in your pantry. It’s a great addition to stir-fries and other dishes but also to soups and even desserts.
Originating from Kyoto, shichimi togarashi is a blend of red chili peppers, sansho pepper (a relative of Sichuan peppercorns), dried orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, hempseeds, ginger and nori seaweed. The mixture is sometimes called nana-iro tōgarashi (seven-color peppers) or simply ichi-mi tōgarashi (one-flavor peppers). Nana-iro means “seven colors” in Japanese, referring to the fact that the seven ingredients are ground together into a mix of red, white, black and green.
You can buy shichimi togarashi in Asian grocery stores or online, but making it fresh at home is more fun. It’s also more delicious: Buying the spices separately and mixing them yourself will give you an infinitely better flavor than what you get from store-bought blends.
Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese spice blend made from seven different spices. The spices are red chiles, orange peel, sansho pepper, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, ginger and nori seaweed. You can buy shichimi togarashi or make your own. If you make your own, keep in mind that the proportions of each spice are important for the flavor profile. The result should be spicy with an umami flavor coming from the seaweed and sesame seeds.
If you’re not familiar with shichimi togarashi, it’s a common condiment served in ramen restaurants. It’s also great on udon noodles or gyoza and can add a spicy kick to stir fries and meat dishes like chicken katsu or tonkatsu.
The name “shichimi” means seven flavors and “togarashi” means chili pepper. One theory is that the name comes from an early recipe that was a 7-to-1 ratio of ingredients that did not include chiles (the first ingredient).
Japanese cuisine is not only about sushi and sashimi, or even just raw fish on a plate. It’s all about the experience, from the ambiance to the food, to the service. A great part of that experience is the condiments, which is why we’re talking about one of our favorites: shichimi togarashi.
Shichimi togarashi translates to seven-flavor chili pepper, and it definitely lives up to its name. There are almost as many recipes for shichimi as there are flavors. Often called Japanese seven spice, it’s more than that – much more. It is a complex blend of spices that comes together beautifully to make an incredibly flavorful condiment. It’s not just spicy; it has multiple layers of flavor that will enhance any dish you put it on – even if it’s not Japanese!
You don’t have to go out for sushi to enjoy this versatile condiment. It can be used in many dishes and recipes. So, let’s talk about how you can make your own!