Japanese Spice: Ichimi Togarashi vs Shichimi Togarashi
“Shichimi Togarashi (七味唐辛子)” and “Ichimi Togarashi (一味唐辛子)”, also simply called just Shichimi and Ichimi, are traditional Japanese spice condiments.
As for the degree of recognition, I think the former spice mix is known better to overseas people because Shichimi Togarashi is an essential condiment for Soba and Udon noodle soups.
The Difference: Ichimi vs Shichimi
As you can guess from the names, Ichimi Togarashi is a spice condiment similar to Shichimi Togarashi, but what is the difference between the two in ingredients, taste, and usage?
The Japanese word included in both, “Togarashi (唐辛子)” refers to red chili pepper in this case, while “Ichi (一)” and “Shichi (七)” have the meanings of “One” and “Seven” respectively.
Since the rest “Mi (味)” means “flavor” or “taste” in Japanese, Ichimi Togarashi has just one flavor (taste), that is, the one that comes from ground red chili peppers.
Shichimi Togarashi (七味唐辛子)
On the other hand, Shichimi Togarashi literally has 7 flavors and consists of ground red chili pepper and other six aromatic spices.
The 6 spices other than its first ingredient red chili pepper varies depending on the producer, but typically include Sansho pepper, Chinpi (dried orange peel), poppy seeds, hemp seeds, shiso (perilla) leaves, Ao-Nori (green seaweed), black sesame seeds, and ginger.
Ichimi Togarashi (一味唐辛子)
In general, Ichimi Togarashi is hotter than Shichimi. However, the spiciness of red chili pepper used in them differs by the place of production, the producing method, and so on, so each Ichimi and Shichimi Togarashi product has its own distinctive flavor profile.
Since Shichimi Togarashi is a blend of ground red chili pepper and other 6 aromatic spices, the seven-flavor chili pepper is literally more flavorful than Ichimi Togarashi consisting solely of red chili pepper flakes.
How to use Shichimi and Ichimi is both basically the same as Furikake rice seasoning; just sprinkle on food, as much as you like.
Ichimi Togarashi is spicy-hot rather than flavorful but doesn’t have intense heat, and the one-flavor chili pepper works well with various dishes from countries around the world, which include pizza, Mapo tofu, sauteed vegetables, and curry.
In contrast, Shichimi Togarashi goes especially well with foods in Japanese cuisine, like Udon and Soba noodle soups, Tsukemono pickles, Yakitori grilled chicken skewers, Gyudon beef bowl, and miso soup. For further information on how to use Shichimi Togarashi, this article will help.