Nick Balla, chef at Bar Tartine in San Francisco, kindly shared with us their recipe for a Japanese condiment called shichimi togarashi, also known as seven spice powder. They make theirs with wild nori, or laver:
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 bunch green onions, green tops only chopped
1 bunch black kale, stems removed
2 lemons, peeled
1 cup crumbled wild nori (laver)
1 oz dried beer hops (optional)
6 chili de arbol, stems removed
1 tsp kosher salt
One of our favorite spice blends, shichimi togarashi is one of the most popular condiments in Japanese homes and restaurants. It’s used to season grilled meats, vegetables, noodles, and rice dishes. Traditionally a blend of seven ingredients, usually a combination of hemp seeds, citrus peel, togarashi pepper, seaweed, sesame seeds, sansho, and ginger or shiso, there are in fact many variations of the basic recipe.
Ours is a riff on the traditional blend using ingredients that are grown here in northern California. We use citrus peel, sometimes yuzu, sometimes lemon or bergamot. Instead of hemp seeds, we use beer hops, and we get wild nori and dulse seaweeds from Mendocino. Sunflower seeds, kale, green onions, and red peppers from local farmers find their way into the mix.
Keep this spice on your dining table next to the salt and pepper and use it freely. It is the perfect table condiment.
Heat a small home dehydrator or an oven to 120° F and dry the scallion, lemon peel and kale until completely dry and brittle (1-2 days).
Preheat oven to 300° F. Spread nori/laver and hops, if using, on a baking sheet and warm in the oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Using a coffee or spice grinder, process each ingredient one at a time. Process until almost a fine powder; a bit of texture is good.
Mix well, store in an air tight container for up to 2 months.
And many thanks, Nick!