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photo by george billard

3.1.10 Condimental: Spice Girl

If you've ever been out for Japanese food (not just sushi, but maybe soba or yakitori or hot pots), you may have noticed a little red shaker on the condiment tray. That's shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spice blend traditionally eaten on noodles, soups and stews. It's made from a combination of seven spices (shichi means seven in Japanese), most commonly ground red chili pepper, dried orange peel, black sesame, white sesame, ginger, ground sansho, and nori flakes or powder. You'll often also see a little green shaker alongside, and that's just plain sansho, a berry from the prickly ash tree that is a relative of the Sichuan peppercorn. It has that same peppery-piney flavor that leaves a slight tingle on the tongue. You can find both these condiments at any Japanese market, or online at Japanese food specialty sites.
Tagged — sesame