Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice)

This recipe for togarashi is simple to craft and rich with authentic Japanese flavor. Spicy chili flakes and zesty peppercorns are blended with seaweed, citrus, ginger, and sesame seeds to create a beautifully balanced spice blend. Perfect for enhancing all your favorite foods!

a hand lifting a small wooden spoon of togarashi Japanese spice blend

Shichimi togarashi, or Japanese 7 spice, is bold, zesty, savory, and bright all at once. The heat of the blend is balanced with umami-rich nori, dried orange peel, aromatic ginger, and a blend of sesame seeds. This spice blend has the ability to bring out the best flavors in just about anything it touches. You are going to love its versatility! 

Togarashi is incredibly simple to put together, and the entire process will only take you around 10 minutes. With this DIY recipe, you are going to have a fresher, more potent spice blend than anything you’ll buy at the store. Plus, you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck this way.

overhead: a jar of shichimi togarashi spice blend with a small wooden spoon

For more homemade spice blend recipes, check out my Lebanese 7 Spice, Chinese Five Spice, and Turkish Spice Blend.

overhead: ingredients needed for togarashi spice

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Chili Flakes – Give the blend a smoky, fruity, and earthy heat. 
  • Sichuan Peppercorns Add a piney, peppery punch mingled with hints of citrus and floral. You might need to go to a specialty spice shop or Asian market. In a bind, you could use a blend of black peppercorns blended with coriander seeds. 
  • Dried Orange Peel – Offers a brightening element with a touch of tangy, sweet, citrus flavor. 
  • Toasted Nori This toasted seaweed brings a rich, deeply umami flavor to the blend. You can usually find nori in the international aisle at the supermarket. 
  • Ground Ginger Infuses the recipe with a pungent, earthy, and spicy-sweet flavor. 
  • Sesame Seeds – Add a delicate nutty flavor and subtle crunch. This blend uses both black and white sesame seeds to cover the whole spectrum of earthy sesame flavor. If you only have one or the other, you can still make the recipe work.
overhead: togarashi on a counter with a jar visible to the left

Tip From Kevin

What is the origin of togarashi?

The earliest accounts of togarashi spice go all the way back to 1625 in what is now modern-day Tokyo. The area was known as Edo at the time, and it was here that spice merchants and traders began developing the blend. With influences from Portuguese and other settlers, new ingredients were added, helping the evolution of the Japanese 7 spice blend.

side view: a jar of shichimi togarashi Japanese spice blend with more on the counter

How to Make Togarashi

  1. Grind Spices. Use a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle to grind the chili flakes, peppercorns, and orange peel into a fine powder. 
  2. Add the Nori. Add the toasted nori to the mix and pulse the grinder a few times. You want the nori to be in small pieces, but not completely ground. 
  3. Combine All Ingredients. Transfer the mix to a bowl along with the ground ginger and both types of sesame seeds. Stir thoroughly to mix ingredients well. 
  4. Transfer to Store. Transfer your spice blend to a spice jar or other airtight container and store it in a cool, dry area. You’ll get the best potency and flavor from your togarashi if you use it within a couple of months.
a hand lifting a small wooden spoon of shichimi togarashi

Frequently Asked Questions

What is togarashi used for?


You are going to be blown away by the versatility of this togarashi spice blend! From fresh fruit to fried fish, this zesty blend will enhance the flavor of all your favorite foods. Here are a few ideas to get you started, but definitely don’t limit yourself to these suggestions.

– Sprinkle some over sashimi, sushi, or these Shrimp Sushi Stacks.
– Add some to Beef Lo Mein, Ramen Salad, or any of your favorite noodle dishes. 
– Jazz up plain Jasmine Rice or mix some into any type of Fried Rice.
– Toss some onto a fresh Japanese Poke Bowl or other salad. 
– Stir a bit into your favorite soups like Miso Soup or Egg Drop Soup.
– This spice blend is also wonderful on popcorn, mixed nuts, and even watermelon.
– I have even added it to batters, like tempura batter, for added flavor, too.

What does togarashi mean in English?


The word togarashi translates to mean “chile pepper” or “red pepper” in English. However, it has also evolved into a catch-all term that basically refers to any condiment featuring spicy red peppers. As such, there is more than one type of togarashi spice. The two most common varieties are shichimi togarashi and ichimi togarashi.  

Unsurprisingly, “shichimi” means “seven flavors or seven spices” in English. When we put it all together we get “seven flavor chile pepper”, or seven spice blend. 

Ichimi togarashi is a much different story! Translating to “one flavor chile pepper” in English, this condiment is simply powdered chile peppers.

Despite their similar names, these two spice blends will deliver a much different effect. Shichimi is bright and complex, while ichimi is sure to bring the heat. Know the difference before sprinkling!

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Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice)

Togarashi is a traditional Japanese spice blend brimming with spicy, savory, aromatic, and fruity flavors. Try this versatile blend today!
Servings: 64
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tsp dried orange peel
  • 3 2-inch squares toasted nori
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds

Instructions 

  • In a spice grinder (or coffee grinder, mortar and pestle), grind the chili flakes, peppercorns and orange peel into a fine powder.
  • Add the nori and pulse a few times to break up, leaving small pieces, not completely ground.
  • Transfer ground mixture to a bowl and stir through the ground ginger and both sesame seeds.
  • Store in a spice jar in a cool dry place. Use within a couple of months for best flavor/potency.
  • Great in soups, on sushi, noodles, rice, watermelon, as well as pizza and popcorn.

Notes

Makes 1/3 cup = 16 tsp = 1/4 tsp per serving = 64

Nutrition

Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.2g | Protein: 0.05g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.01g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Spice Blend
Cuisine: Japanese
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): shichimi togarashi Japanese seven spice

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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