Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese 7 Spice)


Ingredients: Korean Chile, Roasted Sesame Seed White, Ginger, Black Sesame Seed, Roasted Sea Weed, Brown Sugar, Japanese Sea Salt, Cayenne, Orange Peel

Pronounced "shee-CHEE-mee toh-gah-RAH-shee", Shichimi Togarashi is also known as Japanese 7 Spice or Yagenbori. To the uninitiated this seven spice powder may instantly bring to mind the better known Chinese Five Spice but really these couldn’t be more different. Each has been expertly crafted over thousands of years and are closely tied into the unique cuisines of their native lands.

Chinese Five Spice isn’t necessarily hot but is quite concentrated, it's dominated by a licorice aroma with hints of cloves and cinnamon. Chinese Five Spice is best when used in meaty Chinese barbecues and braises. On the other hand, Shichimi Togarashi is almost magical when seasoning Japanese styled grilled meats or added to noodles, rice, and soups. It’s also uncharacteristically spicy, as Japanese seasonings go, as it does possess a bit of heat that hits quickly and fades fast.

The earliest records of Shichimi Togarashi date back to the 1600's, when it was first blended by herb dealers in Edo, Japan which is the current day Tokyo. The name translates to “Seven Flavors Chinese Chili Pepper” but this is not a Chinese seasoning blend. In ancient times the Japanese believed chile peppers came from China and chile peppers imported from China were used in making this blend and the name stuck. Shichimi Togarashi is considered a signature Japanese spice blend.

This versatile seasoning blend is one of the most popular table condiments in Japan. Shichimi Togarashi is also used to add both heat and flavor to dishes such as beef tataki, noodles (especially soba or udon), jasmine rice, hot pots, soups (most notably miso soup) and it goes well with fatty foods such as unagi (broiled eel), tempuras (battered and deep fried seafood or vegetables), shabu shabu (a rich broth dish), and yakitori (grilled dishes).

The exact ingredients and ratios of Shichimi Togarashi differ depending on the cook, manufacturer and region. It’s called 7 spice for a reason but we’ve also seen some recipes that had as many as 10 ingredients.

If you regularly stock rice wine, sesame oil and soy sauce in your pantry you’ll find this an excellent addition to your kitchen arsenal.

We also like to use this highly adaptable blend to make a flavorful crust for bold fishes like tuna, mixed into burgers or ground pork, chicken wings, gourmet ramen noodles, homemade fries, fresh melons, popcorn and it really shines on the grill for beef, chicken or fish.

This has a bit of a quick hitting heat that fades quickly but is also complex and savory with hints of citrus and earthiness.

If you haven’t used Shichimi Togarashi before you will undoubtedly be surprised by how potent it is, so we recommend using about 1/3 as much as you think you need the first time or two that you use it. You can always add more.


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