This popular Japanese spice blend dates back to at least the 17th century and has been used since as a favorite way to add flavor and heat to everything from noodles and rice dishes to grilled meats like yakitori as well as soups and tempuras.
What Is Shichimi Togarashi?
Shichi is Japanese for “seven” and togarashi means “peppers,” hence the name “seven spice” referring to the number of spices (plus nori) typically used in this blend. While many variations exist, shichimi togarashi typically includes red chili peppers, sanshō or sichuan peppercorns, dried orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, ground ginger, poppy seeds and nori (seaweed).
Shichimi togarashi and nanami togarashi are very similar. Both incorporate the same ingredients at slightly different ratios, the main difference being that nanami togarashi uses a higher ratio of orange peel. If making the latter, use less (about 1 teaspoon) of orange peel than this recipe for shichimi togarashi calls for.
How Do You Use Shichimi Togarashi?
Shichimi and nanami togarashi have a wide variety of uses. They’re commonly sprinkled over udon noodles, vegetables, steamed rice, eggs, added to grilled meats, chicken (e.g. yakitori) fish and marinades, used in rubs, soups, tempuras and salad dressings. They’re even sprinkled on popcorn, fries and used to season rice cakes and crackers.
Whether the dishes are of Japanese origin or not, shichimi togarashi is a versatile spice blend that will add life and flavor to a wide range of foods.
Let’s get started!
We’re using red chili flakes, dried orange peel, sichuan peppercorns, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, poppy seeds and ground ginger.
For optimal flavor, lightly toast the sesame seeds and sichuan peppercorns in a dry skillet until fragrant, being careful not to burn them. Let them cool completely.
Select some good nori. Though hard to find, I was able to locate high quality Japanese nori (most nori on the market is from China). You only need a tiny bit to make shichimi togarashi but you can use the rest for sushi rolls (my husband’s favorite) or to snack on.
Once completely cooled, place all of the ingredients in a spice or coffee grinder and pulse until coarsely ground (make sure it’s coarse and not powder).
Store in an airtight container. For optimal flavor use within a few weeks.
Nanami and Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese 7 Spice Blend)
- 2 tablespoons red chili flakes (note: shichimi togarashi is HOT, use less red chili according to your heat preference)
- 1 tablespoon dried orange peel (use less, about 1 teaspoon, if making nanami togarashi)
- 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon sanshō or sichuan peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 sheet quality toasted nori , crumbled
- In a dry skillet, lightly toast the white and black sesame seeds, sichuan peppercorns and poppy seeds until fragrant, being careful not to burn them. Transfer to a bowl and let them cool completely.
- Place all of the ingredients along with the nori in a spice/coffee grinder and pulse until coarsely ground (be sure it's coarse and not a fine powder).
- Store in an airtight jar. For optimal flavor use within a few weeks.