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Help identifying Japanese spices


My sister just returned from Japan, where she picked up some spices for me at a market. The only problem is, she couldn't tell me what they were! If anyone can help me identify them, and maybe even recommend common usages, I would be most grateful.

asked by Cristina Sciarra about 3 years ago
5 answers 1460 views
added about 3 years ago

The photo is to small to be able to read the Konji. I would recommend tasting the spices. Generally Japanese dishes call for wasabi, ginger, soya, miso.

You could have powdered wasabi and the red could be a pepper blend called Nanami. The green could be a sansho pepper, Japanese Sichuan Pepper.

added about 3 years ago

One on the right is Wakarashi which is called oriental mustard or Chinese mustard in English. You use it by mixing with a little water. It's much more spicier and hotter than western mustard. You would just need a little of it to spice up just like Wasabi but a different taste. You might find Karashi paste in Chinese restaurants to use it with Dumplimgs etc.
The other 2 bags are upside-down and the picture is too small to read Chinese characters.
If you could post a bigger picture, I can tell you. (I am a Japanese. So if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.)

added about 3 years ago

That's a little embarrassing that I photographed them upside down! Is this new picture better? Thanks so much for the advice!

added about 3 years ago

The one on the right is Sansho-ko, Japanese pepper in English. The most common use in Japan I think is to sprinkle on Unagi-don (a kind of teriyaki eel with rice) . You need just a little of it to add unique flavor and mild spiciness. I think you could use it on Yakitori or Mapo tofu(Chinese dish).
The one on the left is Nanami-Togarashi, a kind of a chili pepper blended with other spices. This is used quite commonly in Japan to make any kind of Udon or Soba dish hot and spicy. You could almost use it as chili pepper. But the taste of Nanami-Togarashi varies considerably because different kinds of blends of spices are usually used by different makers, so you should just taste it and see if you like it.

added about 3 years ago

Thank you all so, so much! This information is so helpful, and really makes me excited to try these spices in my kitchen :)