Togarashi is the Japanese word for chili pepper and a catch-all term for condiments with chili pepper. Common types of togarashi are “ichimi togarashi” and “shichimi togarashi”. “Ichimi togarashi” means “one-flavor chili pepper” and simply just Japanese chili pepper (“ichi” means one). “Shichi” means seven in Japanese so “shichimi togarashi” translates to “seven flavor chili pepper”. As you would probably guess, it traditionally contains seven different spices.
Togarashi has been used in Japanese cooking for at least 400 years, if not longer. Today, it’s common in different noodle dishes, rice bowls, soups, and hot pots, along with other dishes.
Specific recipes vary from person to person and region to region, but it often includes some combination of ground togarashi chilis, Japanese peppers, citrus peel, sesame seeds, mustards, or dried shiso. Other mixtures might include ingredients like hemp, poppy seeds, ginger, and powdered seaweeds.
Because a togarashi mixture can be quite variable depending on one’s tastes and preferences, it was traditionally mixed to order with different ingredients based on what a customer requested. Nowadays, you can find standard pre-made mixtures available for retail, including at (of course!) Uwajimaya. At our stores you’ll find togarashi in the spice aisle alongside many other different herbs and spices.