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A Take on Togarashi & 17 Ways to Use It

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Today: The Japanese spice blend to always keep on hand. This article is brought to you by Houghton Mifflin Publishing. Head here to pick up a copy of Lukas Volger's Bowl.

During my recent visit to Japan, I was lucky enough to visit a spice shop in Tokyo's Asakusa neighborhood that had been blending its own shichimi togarashi—a ubiquitous-in-Japan spice mix known for it's many-layered flavors—for over 400 years.

Togarashi Blend
Togarashi Blend

It was a cacophonous pocket in the wall with a little slice of counter where the shop's proprietor carefully spooned sesame seeds and chile flakes, among other ingredients, into a wooden bowl to whatever spice level a customer preferred. He'd then swiftly stir everything together and bring the spicy-citrusy umami bomb to your nose for approval. It was the very best kind of food experience to have while traveling—something familiar enough to navigate without too many words, yet unfamiliar enough to feel special, specific. We bought several packets of the spice mix to tote back to the States.

You'll find that togarashi is a staple at ramen shops and more across Japan—but less so stateside. So when I flipped to the back of Lukas Volger's new cookbook, Bowl, and saw a recipe for his own togarashi blend, I immediately wanted to make my own at home too. Togarashi blends differ depending on who you ask, but Lukas's version consists of toasted nori, toasted sesame seeds, dried orange or tangerine zest, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and dried, minced garlic. And it's the kind of thing you want to sprinkle on every bowl of rice thereafter—or use in these 17 other ways:

Scatter it across eggs and friends.

Deviled Eggs, Purgatory Edition

Deviled Eggs, Purgatory Edition by MeghanVK

Breakfast Fried Rice

Breakfast Fried Rice by Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom

Okonomiyaki (Savory Japanese Cabbage Pancake)

Okonomiyaki (Savory Japanese Cabbage Pancake) by Kendra Vaculin

Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs

Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs by Genius Recipes

Add it to pickling brine.

Pickled Asparagus

Pickled Asparagus by BlueKaleRoad

Pickled Watermelon Radishes

Pickled Watermelon Radishes by Alexandra Stafford

Top off a bowl of soup.

Spicy Sesame Pork Soup with Noodles

Spicy Sesame Pork Soup with Noodles by gingerroot

Vegetarian Ramen

Vegetarian Ramen by Catherine Lamb

Vegetable Wonton Miso Soup

Vegetable Wonton Miso Soup by Scarlett

Boosted Jook

Boosted Jook by vvvanessa

Stir it into a marinade.

Extraordinary Marinated and Roasted Chicken, Potatoes, and Chickpeas

Extraordinary Marinated and Roasted Chicken, Potatoes, an... by Selma | Selma's Table

Japanese-Style Fried Tofu

Japanese-Style Fried Tofu by Madhuja

Roll a cheeseball in it.

Nori, Sesame Seed, and Togarashi Cheese Ball
Nori, Sesame Seed, and Togarashi Cheese Ball

Add it to avocados.

Monster Avocado Toast Sandwich

Monster Avocado Toast Sandwich by Kendra Vaculin

Crunchy, Creamy Cucumber-Avocado Salad

Crunchy, Creamy Cucumber-Avocado Salad by Bee @ deuxdilettantes

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast by Marian Bull

BEAT Breakfast Sandwich

BEAT Breakfast Sandwich by hardlikearmour

Shake it on scones or biscuits.

King Arthur Flour's Never-Fail Biscuits

King Arthur Flour's Never-Fail Biscuits by Genius Recipes

Everything Bagel Spice Scones

Everything Bagel Spice Scones by Posie (Harwood) Brien

Togarashi Blend

Togarashi Blend

LukasVolger LukasVolger
Makes about 1/4 cup
  • 3 2-inch squares toasted nori
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried orange or tangerine zest
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic
Go to Recipe

This article is brought to you by Houghton Mifflin Publishing. Head here to pick up a copy of Lukas Volger's Bowl.

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Spice, Lists