Here’s my take on a flavor of my childhood. Shichimi togarashi topped every bowl of ramen, brightened up my mother’s kinpira gobo, and made its way into unexpected dishes like deviled eggs and pasta. The proportions are pretty classic, but I use Espelette pepper instead of Japanese chilies, seasoned nori to add savoriness, and dry my mandarin peels at home for a brighter flavor.
Recipe and photos by Christian Leue
Makes about 1/3 cup/42 grams
2 Tablespoons/18 grams espelette pepper
2 teaspoons/3 grams dried mandarin peel, ground
4 teaspoons/9 grams sesame seed
4 teaspoons/10 grams black sesame seed
1 Tablespoon/1.5 grams ajitsuke nori, ground (the best are produced in Japan)
1/2 teaspoon/1 gram ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon/0.3 grams sansho, ground
1. Weigh (preferable) or measure out the spices individually and process. The nori is easiest to grind if you cut it into small pieces first with scissors. Sansho is best ground in a stone mortar but a spice grinder will also work, just sieve out any large pieces.
2. Toast the sesame in a skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly and stop when the seeds smell fragrant. Remove to a cool bowl.
3. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container in a cool and dark place.
• Toss buttered popcorn, roasted chickpeas, or french fries with shichimi and flaky salt.
• A traditional one, mix mayonnaise, soy sauce, and shichimi and use as a dipping sauce for dried squid. Or fries!
• The bright flavors, heat, and sesame are great with hummus. Sprinkle some on.
• Avocado or fresh corn with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of shichimi is also amazing.
• Fantastic with gamier cuts of steak like skirt, hanger, and flap. Try a compound butter with shichimi, garlic, and fresh lemon juice and zest.
Food image and recipe © Christian Leue
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