Japanese Spice: How to Use Shichimi Togarashi

When you eat Soba and Udon noodles, what would you add to the noodle soups as a condiment? Most Japanese people like to sprinkle the 7 spice blend unique to Japan “Shichimi Togarashi (七味唐辛子)” on the dishes to make them more flavorful and somewhat spicy.

As “Shichimi Togarashi” literally means “7 flavor chili pepper” in Japanese, the traditional Japanese spice is made by blending coarsely ground red chili pepper with other 6 different varieties of aromatic spices.

Shichimi Togarashi

Red chili pepper is Shichimi’s first ingredient, while the other 6 spices vary depending on the producer but typically include sesame seeds, hemp seeds, poppy seeds, ginger, Chinpi (dried orange peel), Ao-Nori (green seaweed), and Sansho pepper.

3 Basic Uses of Shichimi Togarashi 

Let’s get back on track. If you have a chance to go to a Soba or Udon restaurant in Japan, you will definitely find canned or bottled Shichimi Togarashi on the table to which a waiter leads you, for Shichimi Togarashi is one of the essential condiments for Soba and Udon noodles.

Shichimi Togarashi Spice on Udon

But other than this, the spice mix actually can be used in various ways, and there are many Shichimi Togarashi addicts in Japan. They have their own Shichimi Togarashi and sprinkle lots of it over almost any food including sweets (even ice cream!). As for me, I don’t have my own Shichimi Togarashi, but I also like foods with the 7 spice blend sprinkled.

Not only do the addicts and I love Shichimi Togarashi, but the majority of households in Japan have at least one bottled or canned Shichimi Togarashi or Ichimi Togarashi. Ichimi Togarashi looks like Shichimi Togarashi, but it consists solely of red chili pepper flakes.

Lastly, for people who are interested in the spice mix Shichimi Togarashi and want to try it someday, let me introduce 3 basic ways to use the traditional Japanese 7 spice blend.

Sprinkle on Food

Gyudon with Shichimi Togarashi

Shichimi Togarashi is not a Furikake seasoning, but their basic usage is the same; sprinkle on food as much as you like. The Japanese seven-spice blend works well with a wide range of food, but we tend to use it especially for Gyudon been bowl, miso soup, Tsukemono pickles, and Udon and Soba noodles.

Make a Sauce with Mayonnaise

Shichimi Togarashi Mayo Sauce
Combine mayo and Shichimi Togarashi, and if desired, additionally add soy sauce, and make a dipping sauce. This is one of the basic uses of Shichimi Togarashi. We often use the mixed seasoning as a dip for the squid snack “Surume (スルメ)” or fresh vegetable sticks like cucumber.

Combine with Miso 

Shichimi Togarashi Miso Image: cookpad.com

The seasoning mixture of miso, mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), and Shichimi Togarashi can be used in various dishes. Especially, we Japanese like using this sweet-savory paste in Onigiri rice balls.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

1 Response

  1. November 13, 2017

    […] or bottled Shichimi Togarashi.Although we use the 7 spice blend in various ways,as I wrote in my past article before,the Japanese seasoning is generally used to give foods a kick by adding its […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: