Katsuobushi to Goma no Furikake (Dried Bonito and Sesame Seed Topping)

katsuo_furikake

“Sprinkling” would be the closest translation of “furikake”, though I guess “topping” sounds more correct. Furikake ふりかけ(“furikakeru” means “to sprinkle” is one of those Japanese food inventions that merits to be more known and practiced all around the world. If you don’t like eating plain white rice (I know many of us Westerners are not big fans) and you have already been bored with soy sauce as seasoning, then furikake is what you are looking for! It is a more or less complex condiment sprinkled on top of rice, bringing additional flavours and texture. A bowl of steamed rice, a fried or poached egg on top and some good quality furikake are a dream meal for me!

Every time I go to Japan, apart from the usual, well-known and loved products, I bring newly discovered food items. Last November I brought several kinds of what I believe to be high quality furikake (I was told that cheaper “supermarket” furikake tend to contain MSG and/or chemical preserving agents). I liked all of them, but one furikake particularly stood out of the whole lot. As soon as I ended the package, I decided to copy it or make something as similar as possible. I have managed to decipher only a part of the ingredients, but thanks to my Japanese friend A. and her precious help I was able to start experimenting and… I think I have succeeded! I no longer have the original furikake to compare, but my homemade version tastes almost the same and is definitely equally delicious. It is salty, sweet, slightly sour, slightly smokey, packed with umami… addictive and fantastic treat for all the katsuobushi fans!

TIPS: The below amounts should be treated as an example. Adjust the flavours to your own preferences (especially in terms of sweetness, acidity and saltiness).

Sake is not on the ingredients’ list, so you can skip it (I thought it added a very pleasant aroma).

If you don’t have shiitake powder or konbu powder, use a coffee or spice grinder to grind drired konbu and shiitake. You can also use fresh shiitake, but I’d grind them first in a food processor and dry in the oven. (Using fresh mushrooms will cut down the shelf life of the furikake.)

The ingredients on the package (and below) contain “konbu dashi” (Japanese seaweed stock). It’s very easy to prepare, but if you don’t want to bother, I guess you can use a powdered version. I have never posted a konbu dashi recipe, but luckily there is Nami and her Just One Cookbook blog!  Click here to see her very well explained konbu dashi recipe.

Preparation: about 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 big handfuls of katsuobushi (preferably small or medium flakes)

1 heaped tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons sugar or syrup or honey

4 tablespoons konbu dashi (powdered or click here to see Nami’s konbu dashi recipe)

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon sake

1 teaspoon powdered konbu

1 teaspoon dried shiitake

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or 1/2 of it normal soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon oil

(salt)

If you use sugar, dissolve it in dashi.

Heat the oil in a pan.

Add half of the kastuobushi and the sesame seeds.

Stir-fry on low heat until the katsuobushi start becoming golden.

Take the pan off the heat.

Add all the liquids, the syrup or the honey and the powdered shiitake and konbu.

Continue simmering the mixture until the liquids evaporate.

Taste and adjust the flavours (add more vinegar/salt/sugar or syrup).

When the mixture starts sticking to the pan, add the rest of katsuobushi.

Give it a stir and store refrigerated in a closed jar. (It should keep several weeks in the fridge or maybe even months, since there are no fresh products that might spoil).

14 thoughts on “Katsuobushi to Goma no Furikake (Dried Bonito and Sesame Seed Topping)

  1. A_Boleyn

    I have a bottle of that commercially produced furikake in my pantry and I know it has MSG etc in it. Nowhere near as tasty as the ingredients in your mixture, I’m sure. It’s been there at least a year though and will last at least as long before it’s used up though which, unfortunately, is a requirement.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, A_Boleyn. Commercially produced furikake can be without MSG too (the proof is the several packages I bought and none contains MSG or chemical preserving agents). I guess it’s not only MSG that makes it not so good since you haven’t finished it in a year 😉

  2. Hiroyuki

    Congrats on your success! And, your recipe contains vinegar! I’ve always thought that such type of furikake (I mean, wet type) should contain a small amount of vinegar to enhance the flavor. I think that umeboshi paste (bainiku) is also a nice addition.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Hiroyuki. I’m so happy with this discovery! Vinegar was listed on the package and when I added it, gave the mixture a stir and then tasted I found it improved the taste! (I also guess it stretches the life of the life of furikake too; though I finished it in one week 😉 I’m sure bainiku would be a fantastic replacement for vinegar. Now you give me ideas for new experiments…

  3. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    you read my mind about the MSG and sadly, it is not just furikake. Many, many Asian condiments contain loads of sodium and MSG to the point where I would prefer making ingredient substitutions (sacrilege for some I know) or yes, ideally, making it from scratch as you have done beautifully here. Very cool recipe Sissi — I am quite habituated in the ways of soy (and associated saucy inclusions for starches) but would love to experiment more with this type of flavor enhancer. Great share, thank you.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Kelly. I must say that even though I hate to taste huge amounts of MSG in food (I have lately bought a jar f Chinese chilli condiment and it tasted so artificial…), what scares me more is the amount of chemical fertilisers and other products with which fresh and transformed produce imported from Asia was treated. This is the reason why I prefer to stick only to “obligatory” condiments and herbs (especially in Thai cuisine, where I have to buy lots of imported products), but try to avoid vegetables I can replace with European stuff (such as Thai aubergines for example).
      The only shops where I can buy some high quality brands of such things as vinegar, soy sauce, rice or miso are Japanese shops… Of course when I’m in Japan finding good quality products, such as this furikake I have copied, is much more easier 🙂

  4. mjskit

    This is new! I can see using this as a topping for a variety of dishes, but definitely white rice or just about any creamy soup. The flavors sound absolutely amazing all mix together for a unique and delicious condiment. I’m not familiar with Konbu, so I’ll be looking that one up. As far as saki goes, I keep a bottle in the liquid cabinet and use it mostly for cooking. Love the flavor it adds to dishes, so I can see how just a little bit complements the ingredients here. Great condiment, different and new. Thanks Sissi!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, MJ. I think you would love this mixture as long as you like katsuobushi. Konbu is the very dry thick seaweed used to make Japanese stock. You should find it in every Asian shop and you can buy it online, even on Amazon:
      http://www.amazon.com/Welpac-Dashi-Kombu-Dried-Seaweed/dp/B00012OHZ6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425419537&sr=8-1&keywords=konbu
      (this one comes from Korea, I think) but I’ve seen you can buy other brands too.
      I also buy sake only for cooking!

  5. nipponnin

    You kidding me? Home made furikake? I have never attempted to make one. You’re such wonder! One thing I have to be careful is that I eat a lot with this… as if it’s a appetite stimulant.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Nipponnin, for such a complement! I am very surprised and happy with the result too. You should try it if you like this type of furikake of course!

  6. Katerina

    MSG is definitely a nightmare and not just to this but to many other foods. This is new to me and I love the flavors mixed in this paste. I would love to try it probably with plain rice!

  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Sissi, thank you for the mention of the post. I read the post when I got the pingback from your post, but didn’t leave the comment then. Wow!!! I love your furikake and I totally believe yours are just like those gourmet furikake (isn’t it amazing how many kinds of furikake available in Japan? I always bring some fresh unique kind back to the US too). Good to know about the rice vinegar – I have never added it before. Mine is super simple and I basically use leftover katsuobushi and kombu from making dashi. Nothing fancy. I must try this recipe! Furikake is very dangerous for me… I love rice…and adding furikake means I’d be eating 3 bowls of rice (easily!!). Thanks so much again!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Nami. I must say I was quite proud of my copy 😉 It seemed so difficult and I made something so similar already at the first attempt. I do love “gourmet” furikake so much! Before finding it I tasted only very commercial, cheap furikake and I hated it… this one was particularly good. Next time I plan to buy more furikake from the same shop (and hope to copy them too!). I am so ashamed to say I usually throw away the used katsuobushi and konbu… I wanted to do something with konbu but always kept on forgetting… Thank you for this excellent idea! I will check your furikake next time I make dashi.

Comments are closed.