Nanami Togarashi: A Citrusy Japanese Spice Blend

Nanami togarashi is a Japanese spice blend. The word togarashi in nanami togarashi and shichimi togarashi is Japanese for chili peppers. Nanami togarashi is simply a variation on the shichimi togarashi blend. Shichimi means seven flavors; nanami means seven seas. The number seven in both names means that these blends both contain the same number of ingredients. It is likely that they had the same origin in the 17th century.

Shichimi togarashi was first made in Edo, the city that became modern-day Tokyo. At that time, it was sold as a medicine. It would eventually become the seasoning that lovers of Japanese food use today. Nanami togarashi does not merely have the same number of ingredients as shichimi togarashi, it has the same seven ingredients. The big difference has to do with the ratio of those ingredients. Nanami togarashi contains more orange peel than shichimi togarashi.

Nanami togarashi flavor profile

While the flavor profile of the blend can vary depending on who puts it together, nanami togarashi is known for its strong citrus flavor. The flavor comes from the dried zest of the orange, tangerine, or a Japanese fruit known as yuzu. The extra sweetness that the higher amount of citrus peel provides is what sets it apart from shichimi togarashi. Aside from that, it has the same flavor profile as shichimi togarashi in that it is primarily spicy with the nuttiness from its black sesame and hemp seeds along with the umami aspect from nori seaweed.

Health benefits of nanami togarashi

Nanami togarashi’s ingredients enable it to supply nutrients like:

  • Minerals: The hemp seeds and sesame seeds in nanami togarashi are rich in minerals like magnesium and zinc. The seaweed is a good source of manganese (as are the sesame seeds) and also offers trace amounts of numerous other minerals like iron and potassium.
  • Vitamins: Sesame seeds, chili peppers, and nori are all good sources of folate. Nori and sansho peppers offer high levels of vitamins A, but nori is rich in vitamin C as well. Dried orange peel is another source of vitamin C; it contains a modest amount of the nutrient.
  • Antioxidants: Nori, hemp seeds, and black sesame seeds contain antioxidants with the latter two being excellent sources of fatty acids.
  • Protein: Hemp seeds are notable for their high protein content, but sesame seeds and nori both also provide this nutrient.

As a result of the nutritious ingredients, nanami togarashi can be beneficial for treating or preventing health conditions like:

  • Digestive problems: Ginger has been shown to be excellent for providing relief from digestive conditions, including nausea from motion sickness or chemotherapy.
  • High cholesterol: Hemp seeds and sesame seeds both have the ability to fight cholesterol, which means that they are able to help maintain cardiovascular health.
  • Inflammatory diseases: Arthritis is an inflammatory disease, as is eczema. Hemp seeds have been shown to contain compounds that can alleviate the symptoms of both conditions.
  • Iodine deficiency: Nori is a good source of iodine, which means that it can help to prevent iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency causes hypothyroidism.

Common uses

Nanami togarashi’s traditional uses include as a condiment to be sprinkled over udon noodles. You can also sprinkle it over vegetables, rice, or eggs. Nanami togarashi is used to season yakitori, eggs, and soups. Outside of the traditional applications, it can also be used as an all-purpose seasoning blend. Use it on fries, in guacamole or even in desserts. The dessert applications include chocolate mousses.

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