Best Japanese Spices and Herbs 2020

by Erika Shinomoto
Must-try Japanese Spices and Herbs

Enhance your dishes' flavors with the best Japanese spices and herbs! Check it out now!

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Have you tried these best Japanese spices and herbs yet? I absolutely love them! Check it out!

Have you always associated Japan with beauty products? Yes, it is true that Japan is one of the world leaders in beauty products. However, that is not the only thing about this country that is marvelous. It has given the world so much more than only beauty products and Japanese cuisine. What, you may ask? Spices and herbs! 

We all love Japanese cuisine, but when it comes to replicating the same flavors and taste at home, we fail. Ever wondered why? It is because of the lack of the best Japanese Spices and Herbs, as well as other condiments used in Japanese cuisine. 

So, if you wish to recreate the iconic taste of the Japanese cuisine you had on your trip to Japan, this guide will help you find those missing ingredients. These spices and herbs are widely used in Japan, thanks to the exquisite taste they provide. Do let me know if you find your favorites in the list, or if you never knew about these best Japanese spices and herbs. 

Common Japanese Seasonings You Should Try!

#1 — Wasabi

Wasabi is probably one Japanese spice that everybody is familiar with, thanks to its wide popularity. It is a plant of the Brassicaceae family and it is the stem that is converted into this popular condiment. Wasabi has a strong pungent smell and is quite spicy. The pungency of Wasabi is similar to that of mustard. It is uncommon to find Wasabi plant growing naturally outside of Japan, so chances are, you will not find one growing in your backyard.

The wasabi plant grows along stream beds in the mountain river valleys of Japan. Depending on the quality of the water, the quality of the wasabi can vary. The most famous wasabi farm in Japan is the Daio Wasabi Farm.

If you go to a high-end restaurant in Japan, you will find freshly grated raw wasabi upon order. It is the most luxurious form of delicacy as this type of wasabi can go bad within 15 minutes if left uncovered. That is why regular restaurants offer wasabi paste made from dried wasabi powder, or they simply use ready-to-use wasabi tubes. 

The most common way of eating wasabi is with sushi or sashimi. You can also add this to your cold soba noodles or udon noodles. You may want to add wasabi to soy sauce to create a dipping mixture, however, this is considered to be unsophisticated. 

The traditional way is to add a tiny amount of wasabi on top of the fish or other food items. However, be careful when eating wasabi. Too much of it can cause your eyes to water because of its pungency and strong flavors. 

You do not have to go to Japan to experience the taste of wasabi anymore. If you wish to bring the taste of wasabi home, you can easily find wasabi paste and powder on Amazon. 

Here are my top picks:

  1. S&B Premium Wasabi Paste in Tube – click here to get it for $3.59 ($2.36/oz)!
  2. Dual Spices Japanese Wasabi Powder – click here to get it for $14.95 ($4.67/oz)!
  3. Japanese Shizuoka Wasabi Paste – click here to get it!

#2 — Karashi

Karashi is a type of Japanese mustard, which is made from crushed Brassica Juncea seeds. It is most commonly used as a condiment or seasoning in Japan. The Karashi mustard is unlike any other type of mustard you have ever tried. It has a strong flavor and is more bitter. Karashi has been in Japan from the 8th century and got popular during the Nara Period. 

You can add Karashi to various dishes to enhance their flavors. Oden, Tonkatsu, Shumai, Natto, or Yakisoba – whatever you wish to enjoy, enjoy it with a dressing of Karashi.

In addition to this, there are various other Karashi products available as well. You can get Karashi mayonnaise, Karashi Su (Vinegar) miso, as well as Karashi Nasu (eggplants), which are a popular form of Japanese pickles. 

To make the perfect Karashi, simply add lukewarm water to Karashi powder and leave it covered for a few minutes. And if that’s not what you would like to do, simply buy Karashi paste tubes. 

Here is my top pick:

  1. S&B Karashi Pasteclick here to get it for $4.98 ($3.30/oz)!

#3 — Shichimi Togarashi

Shichimi Togarashi literally translates to seven taste chili pepper. So, as the name suggests, this spice is made of a mixture os seven ingredients – red chili pepper (the main ingredient), ground sansho, roasted orange peel, black sesame, hemp seeds, ground ginger, and nori (seaweed). 

Original Shichimi Togarashi from the major producers can be very pricy. However, that does not mean you do not get good quality Shichimi Togarashi today. Contemporary spice is associated with any of the three major producers. 

Shichimi Togarashi is used to add flavor, spiciness, and aroma to a dish. You will find that this spice is often sprinkled on dishes such as soba noodles, udon noodles, nabe hot pots, tendon, tempura, and more. It is also believed that this spice is good for the stomach. It helps improve your digestion as well as appetite. If you have a cold or flu, sprinkle some of this spice on your food and it will help relieve you from the problems. 

You can get this wonderful spice for your pantry without having to fly to Japan.

Here are my top picks:

  1. 7 Pepper Spice Mix – Click here to get it for $16.23!
  2. Shichimi Togarashi from S&B – Click here to get it for $8.99 ($4.34/oz)!

#4 — Sansho

Sansho is a herb that is often confused as pepper. This herb has a long history in Japan; the stories of this herb being used in Japan goes back to the 8th century. Sansho is Japanese prickly ash, belonging to the citrus and rue family. 

If you get Shichimi Togarashi for your pantry, you must know that Sansho is one of the seven ingredients used to make the spice. 

You do not need a large amount of this herb to add flavor. A small quantity is quite enough as it has a sharp, strong taste that is citrusy. The citrus flavor can leave a tingling numbness that can last for quite some time. 

popular Japanese dishes that use this herb are grilled or boiled eel, noodles, soup, and kaiseki dishes. 

And that’s not all. Sansho is also known to be a Japanese healing herb. It is consumed widely in Japan to treat diarrhea and stomach pain. It also helps with digestion, appetite, and metabolism. 

Here is my top pick:

  1. S&B Sansho click here to get it for $7.48!

#5 — Yuzu

Yuzu originated in East Asia and is a citrus fruit. On the outside, you may think that it looks like a smaller version of the grapefruit. The spice is aromatic and you will find that it is very rarely eaten as a fruit. It is commonly used as a condiment for various types of food items. The juice from Yuzu is used as a seasoning or even to make drinks in Japan.

The most common form in which Yuzu is available is Yuzu Pon, which is a citrus-based sauce used in Japanese cuisine. Other forms include Yuzu Vinegar. Yuzu honey is also popular to make tea and alcoholic drinks. Japan drinks a lot of green tea, and adding yuzu to it is quite a common practice. 

Yuzu is also mixed with other spices and herbs to create a wonderful combination. You can add yuzu to Shichimi Togarashi to create Yuzu Shichimi Togarashi. You can also make sweets and desserts using Yuzu.

Yuzu is available in various forms online.

Here are my top picks:

  1. Organic Yuzu Juice – Click here to get it for $13.70!
  2. Chopped Yuzu Paste – Click here to get it for $10.99!

#6 — Japanese Herb Shiso

Shiso belongs to the mint family. It is one of the most popular herbs in Japan. It works well with all types of meat, vegetarian dishes, as well as seafood dishes. Shiso is also known as Japanese basil or beefsteak plant. 

Shiso is eaten in different ways in Japan and depending on how it is eaten, it is known by different names. You can eat green shiso leaves with sashimi and sushi. It can also be chopped up into thin strips and added to salad, meat, fish, or noodles. Sliced shiso leaves can also be tossed on top of pasta and pizza. 

Purple form of shiso is used to dye pickled plum.

Here are my top picks:

  1. Chopped Green Shiso Paste – click here to get it!
  2. Shiso Leaf Powder – click here to get it!

#7 — Ponzu

Ponzu is a common and popular condiment in Japan. It is a citrus-based sauce that has a watery consistency. You can mix Ponzu with soy sauce to make Ponzu shoyu, which becomes a great dipping sauce for sashimi as well as hot pot dishes.

If you make takoyaki (fried dough with octopus inside) at home, you can top it up with ponzu for an excellent taste.

Here are my top picks:

  1. Ponzu Shoyu click here to get it for $16.99 ($1.40/fl oz)!
  2. Ponzu Sauce click here to get it for $15.59 ($0.78/oz)!

#8 — Moshio Salt

Yes, we all have salt, but we do not have seaweed salt, do we? Moshio salt is the oldest form of sea salt, and not many people outside of Japan know about this salt. Making this salt is not an easy task; it requires a lot of energy to make the seaweed moshio salt. 

Moshio salt is a premium Japanese salt that has extra depth to it, thanks to the seaweed. It is a well-balanced salt that adds a lot of flavor to different types of dishes. 

Here are my top picks:

  1. Amabito no Moshio click here to get it for $14.29!
  2. Japanese seaweed salt – click here to get it for $14.80!

You can now bring the taste, aroma, and flavors of Japan home!

These were some of the best Japanese spices and herbs that will help you bring the taste of Japan home. Get these today!

Also Read:

  1. Best Japanese Skin Care Brand | Japanese Skin Care Secrets
  2. 13 Best Cherry Blossom Products And Souvenirs | Cherry Blossom Gifts From Japan
  3. 10 Best Japanese Toothpaste | Best Toothpaste For Whitening And Gums

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