8 Japanese Herbs To Add In Your Pantry

Hey there, culinary adventurers! Are you ready to spice up your kitchen with some exotic flavors? Japanese cuisine, known for its delicate balance and subtle tastes, offers a plethora of herbs that can transform your cooking. Let’s embark on a flavorful journey and explore eight Japanese herbs that deserve a spot in your pantry.

1. Shiso (Perilla): The Versatile Leaf

A Touch of Mint and Basil

Shiso, also known as perilla, is a herb with a unique flavor that’s a cross between mint and basil. It’s like the chameleon of herbs, adding a refreshing twist to salads, sushi, and even cocktails. Think of shiso as a little leaf of surprise in your culinary creations.

2. Mitsuba (Japanese Parsley): The Subtle Star

Delicate yet Distinct

Mitsuba, often called Japanese parsley, has a clean, mild flavor with a hint of earthiness. It’s like the understated, elegant cousin of regular parsley. Use it as a garnish or in soups for a subtle lift.

3. Yuzu Kosho: The Citrusy Spice

A Zesty, Peppery Paste

Yuzu kosho, a spicy citrus paste made from yuzu peel and chili peppers, is like the secret weapon in your flavor arsenal. A dab of it can add a zesty, spicy kick to grilled meats, soups, and sauces.

4. Sansho (Japanese Pepper): The Tongue-Tingler

Not Your Average Pepper

Sansho, known as Japanese pepper, has a citrusy, tingling flavor. It’s like the adventurous sibling in the pepper family. Sprinkle it on grilled meats or veggies for an electrifying taste experience.

5. Kinome: The Aromatic Young Leaf

A Hint of Lemon and Mint

Kinome, the young leaves of the prickly ash tree, offers a refreshing lemon-mint flavor. It’s like a springtime breeze in your dishes. Use it to garnish soups or mix into tofu for a fresh twist.

6. Myoga (Japanese Ginger): The Zesty Garnish

A Milder Take on Ginger

Myoga, often used as a garnish, has a milder and more floral flavor than regular ginger. It’s like the gentle, floral cousin of ginger that adds a soft touch to sushi and salads.

7. Shichimi Togarashi: The Spice Mix Magic

Seven Flavors in One

Shichimi togarashi, a spice blend containing seven ingredients like chili, orange peel, and sesame seeds, is like a festival of flavors in one sprinkle. It’s perfect for soups, noodles, and even popcorn.

8. Kombu: The Umami Seaweed

More Than Just a Soup Stock

Kombu, a type of kelp, is renowned for its umami flavor. It’s like the ocean’s gift to enhance your soups, stews, and broths. You can also use it to make a flavorful vegetarian dashi.

Conclusion: Elevate Your Cooking with Japanese Herbs

These eight Japanese herbs and spices are a gateway to a world of nuanced and exquisite flavors. Whether you’re an experienced chef or a home cook, incorporating these ingredients into your pantry will bring a touch of Japanese elegance to your dishes.


1. Can I find these herbs easily?

Most of these herbs are available at Asian grocery stores or online specialty stores.

2. Are these herbs only for Japanese dishes?

Not at all! Feel free to experiment and use them in various cuisines for a unique twist.

3. How should I store these herbs?

Most dried herbs and spices should be stored in a cool, dark place. Fresh herbs like shiso and mitsuba are best kept in the refrigerator.

4. Do these herbs have health benefits?

Yes, many of these herbs, like shiso and kombu, are known for their health benefits including antioxidants and vitamins.

5. Can I grow these herbs at home?

Absolutely! Herbs like shiso and mitsuba can be grown in your garden or indoors with sufficient light.

Victorine Jardine, a M.Sc. Part 1 student with 3 years of content writing experience, is a specialist in Health (Weight Loss, Fat Burn Food etc.), Astrology and pets topics. With a deep love for animals, Jardine also provides informative content on pet care, behavior, and the bond between humans and their furry companions. Know the enchanting worlds of zodiac signs and pets through Victorine Jardine's engaging writing.

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