The togarashi affair

My husband is having an affair. He’s not even trying to hide it any more. Last week he cooked me this fantastic stirfry and while I was complimenting him on it he dropped a bombshell. Just like that.

What’s even worse is that I know the third party. He introduced us a couple of months ago when we were having a rare lunch together at a little Japanese joint down from work. I thought she was great too, but now I can’t escape her, the fiery little minx.

Dear reader, my husband has become obsessed with togarashi, a spicy, zesty Japanese seasoning comprised of chilli, sesame seeds, ginger, orange zest, seaweed and other sundry ingredients. It’s a bit like the Colonel’s 11 secret herbs and spices, only better. It’s traditionally used in noodle soups (the lovely guy who runs the little Japanese joint we occasionally escape to says it is “only for udon” but I can vouch for the following recipe (as long as it doesn’t end my marriage).

Togarashi chicken
I dragged as much information about the making of this dish as I could from the guilty party, plus watched him make it the other day. This serves two generously with rice.

350-400g boneless chicken thighs, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice (lemon zest also good here)
2 Tbsp togarashi (or more, if you are really keen on it)
black pepper
splash of oil
1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
bok choy or similar vegetables suited to stir-frying

Mix the chicken, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, lemon juice and zest, togarashi and black pepper together and leave to marinate for 30 minutes out of the fridge or a couple of hours in the fridge.
Heat a splash of oil in a heavy pan, then stir-fry the chicken and spring onions until nearly cooked. Toss in the vegetables until they are just cooked. Serve with hot steamed rice and a cold beer.



  1. August 8, 2012 / 9:22 am

    He he…that's the kind of affair that I approve of Lucy!

    I love Japanese food…especially a good hit of wasabi with sushi. I haven't heard of this sauce though it sounds delicious and this chicken looks amazing. I'll try and get some.

    I do think that we are both very lucky that our husbands cook…even more so that they are good at it…
    I definitely think that this is an affair you should continue to encourage….


  2. August 9, 2012 / 10:00 am

    I agree with Dom 🙂 I have never heard of this! But this is high praise coming from a discerning eater and cook… you have me intrigued. off to find some on Saturday 🙂

  3. August 9, 2012 / 10:27 pm

    I've got to admit that I do understand that kind of temptation. I don't have any togarashi in my cupboard of wonders at the moment but this will make me look for some as soon as I'm allowed out of the house.

  4. August 10, 2012 / 9:00 pm

    OMG! I was a little worried there for a moment, but understand that you have to come second to togarashi – sorry, but it IS lush! Karen xx

  5. August 11, 2012 / 11:23 am

    I, too, am a big fan of togarashi but have no idea where to find it in Perth – any Western Australians lurking in the comments that could advise please?!?

  6. August 13, 2012 / 12:13 pm

    Togarashi? Never heard of it, but think it could be the beginning of something really beautiful. My husband is obsessed with all things Japanese and I think he'd love this.

  7. Japanese Girl
    August 15, 2012 / 7:29 am

    The exact name of that fantastic seasoning your husband has been using is Shichimi Togarashi. In Japanese, "togarashi" just means "chili pepper" (in any form – whole, dried, etc.), whereas "shichimi" means "seven flavors".
    So if you stop by a Japanese food store, make sure to ask for the Shichimi Togarashi (that's what the label reads on the picture, in case you were wondering!)

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