Furikake (ふりかけ) is Japanese dried rice seasonings. It’s used to sprinkle on top of rice and to make Onigiri (rice balls).
It typically consists of a mixture of bonito flakes sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, salt, and some includes freeze-dried salmond particles, shiso, egg, and vegetables. Furikake is often brightly colored and flaky. It can have a slight fish or seafood flavoring.
Some includes MSG but I usually buy furikake with No MSG or mutenka (無添加) label on it to avoid additives. Furikake can be found in most Asian groceries around or in the ethnic food aisle of some major supermarkets.
How to make homemade furikake
There are many versions of furikake, but the homemade version makes use of kombu (kelp) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) that have been used to make dashi or Mentsuyu (soup base for noodles). Instead of throwing the kombu and bonito flakes away, this recipe repurposes the ingredients into something like a magical dust, where it can transform any food you sprinkle on into something more delicious and fun.
The method of homemade furikake is really easy. You just need to chop up the reserved kombu into small pieces, combined with katsuobushi and cook in a saucepan. Once the katsuobushi gets separated, add in simple seasonings of sugar, mirin and soy sauce. Cook until the the liquid is evaporated and the flavor is absorbed, then sprinkle in sesame seeds before remove from heat. Rich in calcium, iodine and iron, this homemade furikake makes a healthy choice in enriching your foods.
CREATIVE WAYS TO ENJOY FURIKAKE
Furikake is absolutely wonderful on just a simple bowl of rice, porridge, udon noodles or get mixed into onigiri (Japanese rice balls). They are also great on soba noodle salad, grilled salmon or rice crackers. And if you think creatively, furikake can add so much more to other savory foods. Here are just some delicious examples:
- Avocado – halve the avocado and sprinkle furikake directly to enjoy as an afternoon snack. For a savory breakfast, smear your toasted bread with miso mayo and avocado before you give it a good sprinkle of furikake. There you have a Japanese-twist of avocado toast.
- Fried egg or poached eggs – you can totally replace salt and pepper with furikake when you want something more punchy.
- Popcorn – Planning on a anime or Japanese movie night? You want to flavor your popcorn with furikake to keep to the theme.
- Pasta – Oh yes, you can top furikake on Mentaiko Pasta, cacio e pepe pasta or any simple creamy pasta.
Now you know you can reuse the kombu and bonito flakes after making dashi, I hope you have fun making my furikake recipe. If you make a big batch, you can even freeze them for months. When packed in a cute little glass jar, homemade furikake makes a great holiday or gift too.
Furikake (振り掛け / ふりかけ) is a dry Japanese seasoning meant to be sprinkled on top of cooked rice, vegetables, and fish. It typically consists of a mixture of dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, salt, and monosodium glutamate. Other flavorful ingredients such as katsuobushi(sometimes indicated on the package as bonito), or okaka (bonito flakes moistened with soy sauce and dried again), freeze-dried salmon particles,shiso, egg, powdered miso, vegetables, etc., are often added to the mix.
Furikake is often brightly colored and flaky. It can have a slight fish or seafood flavoring, and is sometimes spicy. It can be used in Japanese cooking for pickling foods and for rice balls (onigiri). Since 2003, furikake has increasingly gained acceptance in the US (particularly in Hawaii and the West Coast) as a seasoning for baked or fried fish, raw fish salads and snack foods such as furikake party mix.
One account of the origin of furikake is that it was developed during the Taisho period (1912–1926) by a pharmacist residing in Kumamoto prefecturenamed Suekichi Yoshimaru (吉丸末吉). To address calcium deficits in the Japanese population at the time, Yoshimaru developed a mixture of ground fish bones with roast sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and seaweed that was made into a powder. He called this product Gohan No Tomo (ご飯の友 "A Friend For Rice") and is generally considered the precursor to contemporary furikake. A food company in Kumamato later acquired the product and was able to sell it commercially. It was initially sold in a flask-like container shaped with a narrow neck to prevent moisture from seeping into the product.
Years after Yoshimari's Gohan No Tomo, a grocery retailer in Fukushima City named Seiichirō Kai developed a different mixture consisting of white croaker and powdered kombu and other ingredients simmered with a soy sauce-based broth. Kai called this product Kore Wa Umai (これは旨い "This Is Good"), and was popular on its release. Although Kore Wa Umai was initially considered a luxury item only available to the affluent who were able to consume white rice on a regular basis, it later was made accessible to the Japanese working class.
Availability of furikake in Japan increased starting shortly after September 1948 when Nissin Foods began to manufacture it on a large scale to address pervasive malnourishment. The product was commercialized on the basis that it provided a good source of both protein and calcium. Furikake was also made widely available as it was dispensed to those serving in the Japanese military starting in World War I.
The term furikake was used generically to describe the product starting in 1959 with the formation of the National Furikake Association. Since 1959, different furikake products are usually differentiated by their particular ingredients, such as in salmon furikake and sesame-and-salt furikake.