Years ago on our first trip to Maui, we were shopping at the local grocery store to pick up a few things. As is the case when we travel, I like to check out the grocery stores because you’ll typically find local treasures. This occasion was no different since I stumbled upon this little jar of what I thought was just sesame seeds, but after reading the ingredients found that it also had seaweed and fish. What an interesting combo right? So it came home with me since it was literally like $4 and didn’t weigh much so wouldn’t impact my suitcase on the way home.
Fast forward to 2014 when our health journey started and IG was the “new kid on the block” with so many new friends to follow for help on how to eat. One of the very first gals we followed was Michelle Tam of @nomnompaleo – such a gift to all!! I noticed on one of her posts (this was well before IG stories were a thing) that she had some sesame seed something or other on one of her dishes and called it “furikake” and at that point I remembered the little bottle I brought home from Maui. It was in fact furikake and I finally cracked it open to give it a try. LIFE CHANGING to say the least. It’s been a staple in the kitchen ever since.
So, what is furikake you may ask? It’s basically shelf stable UMAMI* in a bottle! In all actuality it’s a Japanese seasoning that is made to sprinkle on rice, veggies or fish. Or to quote my Japanese son in law, “it’s basically Japanese jam!” – they put it on just about everything.
Biggest stumbling block is most commercial furikake you’ll find in Asian markets or grocery stores are loaded with sugar, MSG and often other processed ingredients (read those labels!) and not very healthy. For a time I was able to find a great brand on Amazon but sadly it’s no longer available. So after our trip to Maui this last summer, I decided it was time to just make my own and it could not be easier!!
I’ll link to the nori (seaweed) and bonito I got on Amazon. Our favorite seaweed brand is definitely Seasnax! We got to meet the owner at PaleoFX a couple years ago and we became fast friends. Read the labels on seaweed, there should really be only be three ingredients: seaweed, olive oil and salt. Many brands use cheaper oils, do not even go there! It compromises the flavor and health benefits that seaweed can provide. We also think that the best salt is a must, so we strongly suggest Redmond Real Salt – nothing else compares!
So you may still be wondering “but why use it?” – won’t it taste fishy?? Not. At. All! The combo of the ingredients ads such a punch of UMAMI* to whatever you sprinkle it on and takes the flavor profile up a couple notches. Experiment with it and have fun! We’ve got a few recipes coming soon that will feature it, so make up a batch and stay tuned!
a cleaned up version of the beloved Japanese seasoning, FURIKAKE
– ¼ cup + 2 tblsp white sesame seeds, toasted
– ¼ cup black sesame seeds
– 3 full sized sheets nori (seaweed)
– ¼ cup bonito (dried fish)
– 2 tsp Redmond Real Salt
1. In a small bowl, add sesame seeds and set aside. Feel free to use all white sesame seeds, (a total of about 10 tblsp) we just like the contrast the black seeds add.
2. Couple options for the nori and bonito here. First, you can use a sharp knife and finely dice them on your cutting board. Or, use a small food processor and tear sheets of nori so they fit inside and pulse a couple times until the pieces are about the same size as the sesame seeds then add to the bowl of sesame seeds. For the bonito, add to the bowl of the processor and pulse until the pieces are about the same as the sesame seeds, you’ll need ¼ cup total. Add this to the sesame seeds/nori mixture.
3. Sprinkle salt on top and stir to combine. Store in an air tight container in your pantry and shake it on everything!!
*UMAMI – one of the five basic tastes other than sweet, sour, salt, and bitter. It can be found naturally in tomatoes, dried mushrooms, fish sauce, bacon for example. Think about the way your salivary glands engage when you enjoy a garden tomato or smell bacon cooking. That’s UMAMI!!