Has Anyone Tried This Japanese Hot Sauce? Hint – It’s Not….

Hot Chili Sauce (Rayu) But Something Else
A Shocking Spice

Sanshio Hot Pepper SauceThat would be Sanshio Hot Pepper Sauce, made with Japanese Hot Pepper or Sanshio.

Is anyone else familiar with this Sauce and its uses?

Sanshio is a spicy powder that comes from the berries of a Japanese shrub, similar to the Chinese plant that yields Sichuan Pepper. Most Sanshio comes from a single area around Arita Machi in Japan’s western Wakayama prefecture, which grows up to 70 percent of total Sanshio production.

Sanshio is called a shocking spice because of its stimulating, almost electric effect on the tongue. In fact, a saucer full of the powdered Sanshio plant contains enough electricity to light a light a small electric bulb, like a flashlight bulb!

Sanshio in the Kitchen: Used in very small amounts in the hands of a skilled chef, Sanshio is a powerful flavor enhancer. In blindfold tests, subject reported flavor levels that were subjectively “like a hundred times more flavorful” than the usual.

Beyond Grilled Eel: Somehow Sanshio has gotten sidelined in Japanese cuisine as a spice to sprinkle on Grilled Eel or sometimes Chicken Yakitori, and so you’ll often find little bottles of Sansho powder in Japanese restaurants, but that’s about as far as it goes.

Sansho in the Kitchen: Besides savory foods like Steak, Fish and Bean Curd, some Japanese chefs are successfully using Sanshio  in minute amounts by chefs to enhance the flavor of even sweet foods like Madeleine Pastries, Puddings and Chocolate Ice Cream.  When you taste foods expertly prepared with Sanshio, you won’t taste the peppery taste, only a big increase in flavor.

Nutritional Aspects: When Sanshio is added to food, the food tastes salty, even when no Salt is used. Sanshio brings out the saltiness of the foot itself. It also intensifies the aroma as well as flavor of food.  Sp Sanshio can be helpful for people who need to reduce sodium intake..

Sanshio works well as a flavor enhancer of Chinese dishes, like Ma Po Tofu, where it can substitute for Sichuan Pepper very effectively. So it can be used as a possible alternative to Hot Pepper Oil or Rayu and as a flavor intensifier generally.

This Sanshio All-Purpose Hot Sauce takes about a minute to make. It goes well as a dressing on a simple salad of Sliced Avocado and Sliced Onions.  It would also work as a seasoning generally, for a dipping sauce for Pot Stickers or Deep-Fried Tofu.

Sanshio All-Purpose Hot Sauce


Sansho Powder

Sansho Powder

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 clove Garlic
½ cup Water
3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1½ teaspoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Japanese Sake
½ teaspoon Sanshio, freshly ground if possible.


Heat the Vegetable Oil in a saucepan and add the minced Garlic, stirring a few seconds until it releases its fragrance.  Add the Water, Soy Sauce, Sugar, Sake and Sanshio powder and simmer a few seconds, stirring occasionally, until the Sanshio granules are well dissolved in the sauce, which is now ready to use.

It would be interesting to hear from any one who has successfully used Sanshio or Sanshio Hot Sauce in nontraditional ways. Does anyone know of oner uses for this Sauce?




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