Japanese ingredients for your healthy life

Japanese pepper ingredients and its history

A brief history of sansho pepper

Where did sansho pepper originate? There are two theories, one believes that they originated in China, and the other in Japan. Here is a brief history of sansho pepper.


Late third century AC: Native Japanese pepper was written in one of the biographies.
Nara era (710-794): Sansho was termed as Naruhajika.
Kamakura era (1185-1333) : Samurai were using sansho as a pepper when hunting.
Muromachi era (1392-1491) : SANSHO WAS USED FOR GRILLED EEL
Edo era (1701-1868) : There were more restaurants and sansho was used a lot more because of the growth in business throughout the country.


Sansho is written in the famous biography as Hajikami which was a name for sansho back then. As the biography is very old, sansho has been around for a long time and it can easily be the oldest condiment vegetable ever. Well, clay bowls were found with sansho in it in Japan and the estimated time is supposedly in the Jomon era which is about 1500 years ago. From the Heian era (794-1184), sansho was used for medicines as it eases coughs and diarrhea. Putting sansho on grilled eel was introduced in the cookbook back then, when you think about sansho being put on grilled eels at that time, itfs pretty amazing! Sansho was growing naturally in any bush throughout Japan back then, planting sansho was started in the Meiji era (1901-1912) later on in Japanese history.

An added bonus


Have you had grilled eels before? It is actually high in calories but it contains a lot of nutrition including a variety of vitamins. For example, 100g of the grilled eel has 293 kcal, wow! No wonder Heian people started putting sansho on their grilled eel. It is a little bit funny but itfs very practical thinking that they put sansho which was used as a medicine on their dish, if you are going to have to feel bad after eating eel, then why not make it easier by putting some Japanese pepper on, itfs totally fair enough to eat it with medicine as long as the taste is reasonable. Sansho is a condiment vegetable so itfs natural and itfs not a drug technically. If you can imagine those Heian people doing that, itfs quite funny and respectable;)


Talking about the history of sansho, there is a side story in China. In China, sansho was a symbol for power. Sansho was used as a Chinese herbal medicine and they had a special way of using sansho in order to enjoy its flavour. The imperial palace back then had a gracious smell of sansho in the room, what they did was to paste mashed sansho on the walls. Everyone copied it and sansho was everywhere in their house even in the gardens but only higher people in the hierarchy of society could afford to do it so that is why sansho was a symbol for power in China.


Here are a couple of recipes that have stood the test of time for you to use sansho pepper with. They may not have been favourites in olden days but certainly have been in recents years!


First of all, teriyaki chicken!


To make teriyaki chicken, all you need is 2 large chicken thighs or around 4 small ones (deboned if possible for ease of eating), 4 tablespoons of Japanese soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger. 1 tablespoon of mirin, 1 tablespoon of castor sugar and vegetable oil for frying the chicken. As well as this, I recommend using sansho pepper too which is optional!


To make this wonderful dish, cut the chicken into small cubes of around 2 to 5cm in size, if you donft eat or like the skin then cut it off, otherwise leave it on for extra taste, itfs up to you!


While heating the pan up with oil, lightly salt the chicken then lightly sear all sides of the chicken in the pan. Once the chicken has turned a golden brown, add soy sauce, mirin, sugar and ginger. Lower the heat so itfs not too hot and leave the chicken to cook in the juices while turning occasionally. keep this up until the sauce has reduced and become like a syrup. At this point, itfs ready to eat! You can take it out and serve it, but why not try sprinkling on some sansho pepper. Through on some sansho pepper at the end to give it a nice kick!


You canft go wrong using sansho pepper with spring onions!
To make this dish, prepare a skinny spring onion, 1 tsp of sansho pepper, a touch of salt and 1 to 2 tbs of sesame oil. Chop the spring onion up every 5mm to create a collection of finely chopped spring onions and put them into a bowl of water and leave it for 10 minutes. Drain the the water away after ten minutes and add in the sesami oil, a touch of salt and the sansho pepper. Thatfs it, you have a nice little tasty side dish! Of course, you can scale down any of the ingredients in this dish or add more to taste as well to make it to your liking!
The great thing about this is that it can be stored in the fridge for a long time, you could use this as a dipping sauce for sliced carrots or cucumber or perhaps as a marinade for meat or fish together with your main dish. Itfs very easy and super delicious!

Not just tasty but healthy

Sanshofs ingredients are very simple as itfs just grinded sansho buds. it is just that but it has a huge stimulation and flavour, the following is the good points as mentioned before.


The key health benefits are that it removes those fishy smells from fish and meat, as well as that it also has antiseptic qualities, but thatfs not all, it actually improves one's appetite and has medicinal benefits too! PRetty great huh.


There are no added ingredients so it is a natural food from the bush but it gives humans a healthy life. We can trust that because people in the old days used to use sansho a lot that it must be a good thing. They must have had a better instinct for things like that than people now in modern society. Thatfs one way of thinking about sansho and with the long history itfs quite proven! Have a go if you havenft tried it yet. Discover!!