This week our Australian culinary corespondent, Sarah Coates of The Sugar Hit, ingredient mostly known for its luxurious applications, but finds it difficult when trying to translate that into a sweet treat. If carmel corn wasn’t already in the compulsive consumption category, hold on to your hats (and grub grabbing digits) because this is a whole new kind of snack attack!
I am officially in love with it. When this little vial arrived in the mail I did not know WHAT to make of it – and maybe you don’t either! So let me explain; Shichimi Togarashi (sometimes called Nanami Togarashi) is a Japanese Seven Spice Mix. Its primary ingredient is ground chilli, so it’s hot, but then things get funky. The other ingredients commonly include ground sanshō (Japanese pepper), dried roasted orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, ground ginger and tiny pieces of nori.
Chilli? Ginger? Nori? ORANGE PEEL? That’s a heady mix! Before I tasted it, I would never have thought that all those ingredients could combine harmoniously. But I should have had more faith in the Japanese art of balancing flavours, because it is completely, addictively delicious. It’s spicy, fragrant, a little salty, complex, nutty and nuanced, and it even has that same almost-fizzy sensation on the tongue that Szechuan pepper has.
As soon as I tasted the spice mix I started looking for a financial backer, because I’m pretty sure that Shichimi Togarashi flavoured potato chips would make millions. But then I figured, why just be salty, when you can be sweet as well? You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? Caramel Corn.
Shichimi Togarashi Caramel CornIngredients: 6 cups popcorn (from ¼ cup popcorn kernels) ½ cup brown sugar 2 tbsp glucose syrup (or light corn syrup or golden syrup) ¼ stick (25g) butter 1 tsp flaky sea salt 1-2 tsp shichimi togarashi (or more, to taste)
- Pop your popcorn, if you haven’t already, and then place it into a large mixing bowl.
- Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper, and preheat the oven to 300F (150C).
- In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar, syrup and butter. Stir together over a medium heat and then bring to a slow boil.
- Let it boil for about a minute and then, working quickly, pour the mixture onto the popcorn and stir until all the kernels are well coated.
- Dump the mixture out onto the lined baking sheet and spread it into an even layer. If some parts clump together, don’t sweat it.
- Place into the oven for 10 minutes, then remove and give everything a good re-shuffle with a wooden spoon, making sure to bring the edges into the middle so everything cooks evenly.
Salty, buttery popcorn, coated in mouth-watering brown sugar caramel, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any more delicious, Shichimi Togarashi comes and kicks it in the side with a pair of steel toed boots. You want to talk about addictive? Wait until you taste this. And now I’m just going to sit back and wait for all those finance offers to roll in…
Can you get over this munchy masterpiece!? Passed out, on the floor, done and drooling! This is the best application of these spices we’ve seen used EVER! Let’s just say it’s a good thing flowy jam pants have come back into style because we’ve got plans for several trays of this goodness in our future.
Pick it up shichimi togarashi here and explore all 7 spices of potential, then let us know what you come up with!