Shichi-mi togarashi is also known as Japanese seven spice powder. As the name suggests it contains seven ingredients that blend to make a spicy flavour in salad dressings or other meat dishes. If you think this is a Japanese version of Chinese 5 spice powder – think again, and read on.
In a bid to recreate Japanese dishes with authentic flavours, I went in search of this condiment in our local supermarket. I was not disappointed. The spice blend has been very easy to use as well – flavouring the dressing for a bean sprout salad, as well as on grilled chicken and pork. Oichi! (=delicious).
The main ingredient in shichi-mi togarashi is chilli, which on its own is not so easy to find here. Blended with the other components of the mix gives dishes a kick with a Japanese twist!
Apparently, a typical blend of shichi-mi togarashi may contain:
- coarsely ground red chili pepper (the main ingredient)
- ground sanshō or Japanese pepper
- roasted orange peel
- black sesame seed
- white sesame seed
- hemp seed
- ground ginger
- nori (seaweed)
By contrast, Chinese five spice powder is made up of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise and Szechwan peppercorns.
As well as being a condiment, this Japanese spice blend is a popular food souvenir at some of the country’s famous shrine festivals and tourist sites. We haven’t seen too much of that yet, focusing on learning to use it effectively first.