These two East-Asian spice mixes cannot be more different one from the other, however, if you have both in your spice cupboard, you can easily transform any dish into authentic fare.
In a dry frying pan, toast each spice separately -except for the cloves- until they are fragrant.
Once toasted, the spices should be easily ground with a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
Sift the spices together, and grind any coarser pieces a second time. Discard the more stubborn bits.
Store in an airtight container away from light and humidity. Will keep for about three months.
Chinese five spice can be used as a marinade for any meat destined for a roast or the barbecue, but it is also a great way to add 'meatiness' to vegetarian fares such as tofu and vegetables.
Tear the dried chilli into small pieces. Grind coarsely with a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
Break up the dried mandarin peel into small chunks, and grind until it becomes a relatively fine powder. Set aside.
Tear the nori leaf into small pieces, and chop until relatively fine.
Mix all the ingredients together.
If you cannot find sansho pepper, it can be substituted with Szechuan pepper. The whole peppers need to be toasted before being ground.
If you cannot find dried mandarin or orange peels, substitute with lemon peel, or make your own. Peel your citrus, and leave the rinds to dry out in a warm and ventilated room. Mandarin peels will take about a week to dry, oranges and lemon may take up to two weeks. Dried peels will keep indefinitely.
«Both spice mixes should always be kept to hand: Chinese five spice will liven up any roast or stew, and is a great 'secret' ingredient for Bolognese sauce. Sichimi togarashi is a mild alternative to hot sauce at the table.»