Japanese 7 spice, also known as shichimi togarashi, is a Japanese spice mixture that translates to ‘seven-flavor chilli pepper’. It is usually prepared using seven ingredients, which include red chilli pepper, sansho pepper, hemp seeds and/or poppy seeds, white sesame seeds and/or black sesame seeds, ground ginger, yuzu or mandarin orange peel and nori.
This blend is considered to be an all-purpose condiment and finishing seasoning. People generally add it to different kinds of soups (like miso soup and noodle soups), or serve it as a side (sprinkling it over avocado toast, plain rice and popcorn). One can also add it to a variety of meats (like yakitori, shabu-shabu and stir-fry) and seafood (like raw clams or oysters).
Origin & Cultural Significance
Japanese 7 Spice is believed to have originated in the 17th century. The herb dealers in Edo (today known as Tokyo) are known to have produced it. Occasionally, this spice mix is also known as Yagenbori, referring to the name of the actual place where it was invented.
Today, this Japanese spice is commonly sold as a formulated product, but back in the day it was made fresh and sold as per the customer’s preference.
Apart from Japanese dishes, Japanese 7 spice is used in dishes from other countries as well. The multipurpose spice mix helps enhance the flavor of a wide range of foods.
Japanese 7 Spice Recipe
- Red chili flakes – 2 tbsp
- Dried orange peel powder – 1 tbsp
- White sesame seeds – 2 tsp
- Black sesame seeds – 2 tsp
- Sansho or sichuan peppercorns – 1 tsp
- Ginger powder – 1 tsp
- Poppy seeds – ½ tsp
- Quality toasted nori (crumbled) – ½ sheet
- Begin by taking a dry skillet and adding white and black sesame seeds, sichuan peppercorns and poppy seeds. Lightly toast all the ingredients and allow them to cook until fragrant. Make sure you don’t overcook and burn them.
- Once done, shift all the toasted ingredients to a bowl and keep them away for some time to cool completely.
- Next, take a spice or coffee grinder and add all of the ingredients, including the nori, to it. Keep in mind that Japanese 7 spice is hot and you can add less red chilli as per your heat preference.
- If you don’t have orange peel powder, take the peel of one orange or lemon and finely grate it over an oven tray. Line the tray with a sheet of baking paper. Set the oven to its lowest setting and let the grated peel dry out for about 20-30 minutes. Take it out once you see it turning a shade or two darker.
- Pulse until it is coarsely ground and do not wait for it to turn into a fine powder. You can also use a mortar and pestle and grind for a few minutes if you don’t have a spice grinder.
- Transfer the mixture to an airtight jar and store it. For the best flavour, use within a few weeks.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 116Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 6gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g