The Washington Post

Spicy Asparagus

Spicy Asparagus 2.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post

Jan 21, 2019

This quick preparation was inspired by a dish chef Anita Lo's mother used to make.

To read the accompanying story, see: For this top New York chef, an asparagus dish that ‘didn’t make sense’ led to a career without borders.

Where to Buy: Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese seasoning blend, available on the international aisle of larger grocery stores.

2 - 4

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2-4 servings

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, preferably thick (woody ends discarded)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chunky peanut butter
  • 1 heaping tablespoon well-stirred tahini
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons mirin (may substitute sweet sake)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Pinch sugar
  • 2 pinches shichimi togarashi, or more as needed (see headnote; may substitute ground cayenne pepper)
  • Scallion greens sliced on the diagonal, for garnish


Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Cut the asparagus on the diagonal into 1-inch lengths.

Add the asparagus to the water; cook/blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the green color is heightened. Drain.

Whisk together the peanut butter, tahini, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, sugar and shichimi togarashi in a mixing bowl, until well blended. Add the blanched asparagus and toss to coat evenly. Taste, and add more of the shichimi, as needed.

To serve, top with the scallion greens.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from chef Anita Lo.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Avg. Rating (4)

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 4): 80

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 5g 8%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 260mg 11%

Total Carbohydrates: 8g 3%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 4g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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