Shichimi Togarashi (7 Spice Powder) an old pantry staple

a tasty bottle of options

When I say old, I mean O L D!  As in this spice mix dates back to the 1600s.  The first mixes were originally billed as medicine, and were developed shortly after the introduction of red chilies to Japan.  Shichi is the Japanese word for “seven.”   As you explore the spice racks in the market, you are likely to find another glass jar that looks remarkably similar called nanami togarashi (its the same thing).  However, if you see an also familiar looking jar called ichimi togarashi, that is simply pure ground chili powder without all the special extra ingredients.   The remaining six ingredients which round out list typically include: Szechuan pepper (sansho in Japanese), roasted orange peel, white and black sesame seeds, seaweed and ginger.  Typical being a key word as there is no hard and fast requirements that the these ingredients be used or in what ratio.  Some shops in Japan cater to their customers tastes to such an extent that they custom mix the ingredients.

However, some common “go to” standards exist in Japan, and they are:

The Yagenbori shichimi of Tokyo which contains ground chili, both toasted and dried with mustard, sasho, black sesame, poppy seeds, hemp seeds and chinpi (dried peel of citrus fruit which may include mikan, daidai or yuzu)

 The Kiyomizu shichimi of Kyoto includes the chilies, shansho, black and white sesame seeds, aonori (seed weed, green laver), shiso (also known as perilla is a member of the mint family and sees multiple uses in the Japanese kitchen) and hemp seeds.

source:  A Dictionary of Japanese Food, Ingredients & Culture, by Richard Hoskin 1995


up close and personal.

This mix is incredibly versatile and I can attest its hard to go wrong.  I love sautéing all the wonderful squash and zucchini of summer and then finishing them with a dash of  shichimi togarashi, or simply shichimi for short.  If however, you are more of a traditionalist, this spice is commonly associated with soups, noodles, and yakatori.


Other Ideas

Shichmi togarashi via Dining Chicago (recipe from Chef Robert Parker)

Make your own – a recipe from

 spicy mango salad from Herbivoracious




Update me when site is updated

19 comments for “Shichimi Togarashi (7 Spice Powder) an old pantry staple

  1. August 1, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    First I’m hearing of this blend as I am more familiar with the Chinese 5 spice blend. I’ll have to look for this next time I’m in the gourmet shop.

  2. August 1, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    Oh I didn’t know Japanese had their own 7-spice powder…or is that a different thing from the Chinese 5-spice? It sounds wonderful with summer squash!

  3. August 1, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    A spice mix I have never tasted. Now I’m intrigued!



  4. August 2, 2011 at 5:50 AM

    This is something I need in my spice rack, and I’m not sure why it hasn’t been there all along! I have an edamame dip in mind for this weekend, and some shichimi on top will be great.

  5. August 2, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    A new way to use my zucchini! I must look for this blend – it will add such depth to the most ordinary of foods. (And simplify the cooking process).

  6. August 6, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Wow I would have merely said it was classic, but that does not come near close enough to explaining just how long this mix has been around, fascinating. GREG

  7. August 7, 2011 at 5:37 AM

    Thanks for introducing this spice, Lou Ann. It is new to me also and yes, it does sound quite intriguing. I’m all for spicing up summer’s bounty of zucchini any which way I can!

    Thanks for sharing…

  8. August 7, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    It sounds like you’ve introduced all of us to something new LouAnn. Thanks for that. I have a new spice store on the corner and I’m going to pop my head in to see if they have this. Otherwise, I’ll check it out at the Asian market.

  9. August 7, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    An amazing spice mix, I can just imagine all the dimentions of flavors it would bring to various dishes!

  10. August 11, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    This post is perfect timing for me. We have a huge international market (Jungle Jim’s) in Cincinnati that I have yet to visit. We are headed there this weekend and I can’t wait! I’m making a list of spices and ingredients that I should pick up for my pantry. I will be on the lookout for this or at least a variation!

  11. August 12, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    Top list greatest spice mixes in existence…love it! And as always fantastic background and history her 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  12. August 13, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    This is NEW for me ;-)) Can’t wait to find some to try!

  13. August 15, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    My husband, who is Japanese-American, is addicted to this stuff. I’m so used to shaking it on bowls of ramen and udon. But adding it to veggie sautes is a great idea that I’m going to try next.

  14. OysterCulture
    August 15, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Wizzy – I only learned more about it as i used it yet again, and then got curious as to the history behind the spice.

    Claudia – i think you’ll enjoy it. I just made chicken wings marinated with this spice mix and soy sauce and then grilled, nice and tasty,

    Sippity – I’d have filed it like you if I had not checked first,

    Angie – Woohah! I cannot believe it. =)

    MoS – I agree, a wonderful spice mix that seems to be a bit of a niche player.

    Louise – I think you’ll like it, especially with all the zuchinni

    Tammy – You should definitely be able to find it and I hope you enjoy experimenting with it.

    5 Star – I cannot wait to see what you do with it!

    Lori – Woohoo! Perfect timing indeed

    Carolyn – I’ve been experimenting and the more I play with it, the more I like it,

  15. August 16, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Yes! This is my pantry staple for sure. In fact, I just used it last night for my udon noodles.
    Kitchen M recently posted..Kitchen M Photobook

  16. August 21, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    I’ve had shichimi in Japanese noodle soups. I’ve never thought of it with other foods, though your idea with zucchini is a very good one indeed. Have you ever tried making your own shichimi togarashi?
    Stevie recently posted..catfish tenders

  17. OysterCulture
    August 22, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Kitchen M – Nice!

    Stevie – I want to make my own, but due to lack of time and the conveninence of buying it at the corner market, I’ve relied on store bought so far.

  18. August 22, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Yes! I have this in my pantry 🙂 Dash on rice. Dash on vegetable stir-fries. Dash on soups. Dash on panko (to spice up the breading of fried food)!

  19. OysterCulture
    August 27, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    Tigerfish – what a wonderful idea for the panko – you are a genius!

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