This popular Japanese spice blend, also known as Shichimi Togarashi, was originally touted as a medicinal supplement, however these days it’s widely used to bring a hint of heat and color to all kinds of dishes. Created in the early 1600s at the Yagenbori herb shop in Tokyo, Japanese seven spice was sold at pharmacies but soon became a popular item amongst local street vendors and eventually became a mass produced grocery item. Look for this spice blend at a well-stocked grocery store, Japanese market, or online.
Flavor and Texture of Japanese Seven Spice
Translating to “seven flavored pepper”, proper shichimi togarashi is only made with seven ingredients which traditionally includes red pepper, sansho pepper, black and/or white sesame seeds, nori, and orange peel or yuzu. Other ingredients could potentially include poppy seeds, hemp seeds, ground ginger, or rapeseed. Regional recipes can be different with some bringing more heat than others or varying levels of aromatic citrus and seaweed. Try this incredibly versatile spice blend by sprinkling it on as a topping for a quick hit of fire right before eating or use during the cook to saturate the item with earthy and bright aromas.
How to Store and Use Japanese Seven Spice
Many Japanese restaurants will most likely have a handy bottle of the spice blend sitting on the table, but if it’s only going to be used sparingly, keep it in a cool dark spot such as the pantry. Japanese seven spice is often used as a condiment for noodle dishes like udon, ramen, or other soups. Another way to use this popular ingredient is as a marinade or rub ingredient for grilled meats such as pork, chicken, or even seafood. Try our Togarashi Salmon with Broccoli, Brown Rice, and Cucumbers for a delicious and easy introduction to Japanese seven spice.