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Strawberries and togarashi

I was introduced to the concept of pre-dessert during my days in San Francisco. The better restaurants would bring a small bite of something sweet and spicy or savoury before dessert. The concept is simple, it is to transition your palate, and brain, to sweet, and to do this gently. The small bite is usually spectacular, a combination of sweet and spicy/salty/sour/savoury flavours. Chefs have been getting very creative with these dishes and I, in particular, am very fond of serving and making these small creative dishes.

Togarashi is a Japanese spice blend that translates to "seven-flavour chilli pepper" because it has seven ingredients. They are ed chilli pepper, sansho pepper, hemp seeds and/or poppy seeds, white sesame seeds and/or black sesame seeds, ground ginger, yuzu or mandarin orange peel, and nori. There are variations of the blend that include Ichimi togarashi or one-spice blend, the Shichimi or seven-spice blend and the Nanami or seven-spice blend with more yuzu peel for a citrus-forward taste. Togarashi is typically used as a condiment for soups like ramen, over noodles and even over modern salads.

This is a very simple bite with Japanese influences. The sweet-tart strawberries are topped with either Nanami or Shichimi blend. The combination of tart-sweet and spice is lovely and tamed by the light olive oil drizzle.

For more recipes created by Zafar, click here.



Olive oil

Togarashi spice blend, either Shichimi or Nanami

Slice the strawberries longitudinally with a mandolin on the thinnest setting. Lay the slices decoratively on a plate and drizzle lightly with a few drops of olive oil. Sprinkle the togarashi powder over the strawberries lightly. Serve immediately.

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