Japanese ingredients for your healthy life

Using Japanese pepper in dishes

A must have in the pantry

Japanese pepper (sansho pepper) is basically a pepper so you can just sprinkle it on your meal. You donft even need to heat it up, just sprinkle it on! Also, it doesnft have to be a Japanese / Asian food when you use it, it really can go on anything. For example, if you are doing steak for dinner, just sprinkle it on and grill or fry, or you could sprinkle just before eating as sansho loses flavour after a while. You can start using sansho pepper from today! Other than that, the common use is for unagi don which is grilled eel on rice and it is very popular in Japan! Also, for yakitori too, yakitori is grilled chicken on skewers and it is an absolute must if youfve never tried it and you love bbq food!


First of all, a little about what sansho actually is before we look at some recipes. Itfs really quite a curious thing. Sansho has a slight lemony flavour but often you may not be able to tell, you are more likely to recognize it as a herb. It is actually a kind of citrus and it comes from trees. The tree usually grows up to around 3m and the tallest youfd be able to find would be around 5m in height (just like the orange trees). The branches have thorns like lemon trees and rose trees and this tree has both female and male strains just like kiwi fruit trees if youfve ever seen them before. The green fruits ripen and redden in autumn, they use these fruits as well as buds and leaves to make the pepper. Sansho (Japanese pepper) trees are grown deep in the bush as they like to be in a place where there is a lot of moisture. Harvest time is usually in the Summer for the young green fruits and in the start of autumn for the ripe fruits, they do use buds too so they are picked in the spring. It takes 20 years to be able to pick sansho fruits if you start from the seed, so usually they use a part trimmed from a tree so that you can get fruits the following year if you maintain it well.

Recommended uses of sansho pepper

If youfd like to try some eJapanese dishesf then here are a few recipes you can try and enjoy. The recipes below are another way of using sansho, remember sansho is a seasoning to be sprinkled on finished food mainly so you donft have to cook it usually!


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. This is entirely optional but to give it a little kick I recommend giving it a go! This dish goes really well with plain white rice and steamed or boiled fresh vegetables like eggplants and brocolli and the classic favourite, miso soup!


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!

Something for the adventurous

Now for the real winner, sansho vanilla ice cream!


Thatfs right, you can even make your own unique and delicious ice cream using sansho pepper. If you are the type of person that enjoys peppermint ice cream or any ice creams with strong flavours like this, then this is your thing. To make it, all you need to do is sprinkle sansho pepper over vanilla ice cream and eat it. Itfs up to you whether you mix it in or not. If youfre up for an adventure give it a go!


Sansho pepper is a great seasoning that has a huge amount of versatility and and scope in the kitchen. If you like the taste then itfs worth sprinkling it on any savoury dish you make.


There are many health benefits that Japanese pepper has. Did you know that it actually removes fishy smells from fish and strong smells from meat, pretty cool huh, another great thing is that it has antiseptic qualities and improves one's appetite, but thatfs not all, it has medicinal benefits too!


You can entertain your friends by just putting sansho pepper on dishes!! Using regular cooking but just sprinkling sansho pepper on top gives your dishes a huge impact!