Schichimi Togarashi

Shichimi tōgarashi ( 唐辛子),  also known as nana-iro tōgarashi (七色唐辛子) or simply shichimi, is a common Japanese spice mixture. containing seven ingredients.

Togarashi, the Japanese word for “chiles,” is a group of condiments always including chiles that bring out the clean, simple flavors of Japanese food.

A typical blend may contain:
-coarsely ground red chilli pepper (the main ingredient)
– roasted orange peel
-black sesame seeds
-white sesame seeds
-hemp seeds
– ground ginger
nori or aonori

Some recipes may substitute or supplement these with poppy seed, yuzu peel,rape seed or shiso.

Shichimi should be distinguished from ichimi tōgarashi (一味唐辛子), which is simply ground red chili pepper, and means literally “one flavor chili pepper” (ichi meaning “one”).

 The culinary history of this  spice mix dates back at least to the 17th century, when it was produced by herb dealers in Edo  which is current day Tokyo, and sometimes it is referred to as Yagenbori (Japanese: , from the name of the original place of production). Most shichimi sold today come from one of three kinds, sold near temples: Yagenbori (やげん堀?) sold near Sensō-ji, Shichimiya (七味家?) sold near Kiyomizu-dera, and Yawataya Isogorō (八幡屋磯五郎?) sold near Zenkō-ji.

Yagenbori Shichimi Togarashi Shin-Nakamise Main Store in Asakusa,Tokyo.

In terms of use, many cooks will add it  to soups and on noodles and gyūdon. In Japan, some rice products such as rice cakes, agemochi and roasted rice crackers also use it for seasoning.

Togarashi works well with fatty foods such as unagi (broiled eel), tempuras, shabu shabu , which are small bits of food cooked in rich broth, noodle dishes, and yakitori (grilled dishes). Nanami togarashi is a close cousin, with a slightly different proportion of ingredients emphasizing citrus zest.

Makes About 1/2 Cup
2 Tablespoons sansho (or 1 tablespoon black peppercorns)
1 Tablespoon dried tangerine peel
1 Tablespoon ground red chile pepper
2 teaspoons flaked nori
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
2 teaspoons white poppy seeds
2 teaspoons minced garlic

Combine the sansho (or black peppercorns), tangerine peel, ground red chile pepper, nori, and minced garlic.Grind the first four ingredients together to a chunky consistency.Add the black sesame seeds, white poppy seeds to the ground mixture. Store refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.

Gochujang 고추장 (Hot Pepper Paste)

Move over, Sriraccha,

There is a new red hot pepper sauce on the culinary horizon………Gochujang……..




Gochujang on spoon This Korean red pepper paste is a staple sauce used throughout Korean cooking, It is used in most Korean dishes that are spicy such as Jeyuk bokkeum, Bibimbap and ddukbokki. It is warm, sweet and spicy and goes well with most meats and also has a lot of health benefits to.


Gochujang can be traced back to the mid to late 16th century, it was made after chilli’s were introduced by Japan. It was traditionally made at home by adding red chilli powder to powdered sticky rice, and adding in powdered soybeans and salt. This mixture was then aged in traditional Korean jars in a similar way to kimchi, this gives the sauce it’s pungent flavor.

It is a fermented and preserved food, used mainly for seasoning and flavoring. This hot pepper paste is thought to stimulate digestion because it contains amylase and protease.

gochujang boxIn Modern South Korea it is now produced on a mass commercial scale, you will find gochujang in every Korean home, as it’s an absolute must for Korean cooking, however homemade gochujang is much rarer, due to the time it takes to make it, but a number of elders still carry out the tradition and you may be able to pick up some homemade red pepper paste in a Korean street market.

Gochujang has become part of Korean tradition over the past few hundred years. Its health effects are as impressive as many other Korean foods. It has been found that it contains as many nutrients as soybean sauce. Gochujang sauce is known to contain Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, protein and carotene. Another health component is that gochujang contains a number of Micro-organisms that can help purify the intestines. Capsaicin which is the substance that makes chilli’s spicy, is also attributed to a number of health benefits, it is believed to calm down the stomach and speed up the excretion of waste, this in turn is believed to help fight obesity and is a contributing factor as to why South Korea has one of the world’s lowest obesity rates. Capsaicin is also great if you have a cold.

The popularity of gochujang   has started to grow and spread outside of South Korea, it’s unique warmth and versatility allows it to be used with almost anything, and recent appearances on cooking shows seen on television, alongside famous faces such as Nigella Lawson, will only help its popularity. It surely won’t be long before it moves from Asian stores to mainstream local grocery stores and supermarkets.

For recipes for excellent home made gochajang see the links below:

Easy Korean Food: