Just call me Maui furikake girl, because in the words of Depeche Mode, I just can’t get enough…
My love of furikake started in my late teens at the University of Hawaii at Hilo cafeteria. I had no car and almost no green in my ripper wallet. This meant that me, my pre-paid meal plan card and the dining hall were destined to be a threesome on a daily basis. Sometimes I’d arrive at the cafeteria to find the clouds had parted and the angels were singing “there’s an entree you won’t hate today gorgeous”. On other days I’d fling open the doors to dark skies and deep fried perch that my picky young palate was just not having (talk to the fork people). On these gloomy days, I often hit the salad bar which was quite yummy with ample canned corn and cottage cheese to top my veggies. However, I quickly grew tired of my salad being the solo entertainment at dinner. So, I started to carry a bottle of furikake with me.
Furikake is a Japanese condiment. It’s a seasoning which typically includes flakes of nori (seaweed), fish and egg. Miso or soy powder and sesame seeds complete this wonderful mix. There are a variety of flavors available including an ume version (umeboshi, pickled Japanese salt plums). I usually prefer the very simple mix of primarily seaweed and sesame with no msg. If you have a bad reaction to msg as I do, please check the label before buying any furikake for “msg free” or “no msg added”. Furikake is typically sprinkled over warm rice.
In my college years I sprinkled my furikake on top of my steamed rice to make my all rice, no entree plate look and taste special. I created side dishes for my rice in the cafeteria microwave using ingredients from the salad bar like mushrooms, onions, peppers, butter and a little tabasco.
The furikake on the go habit continued well into my 20’s. As a young auditor, I often indulged in plate lunches all over the islands. Everywhere I went, so did my jar of furikake to add a little something something to my scoop of rice on my mini-plate from C & G’s in downtown Honolulu to Big Save on Kauai to Zippy’s nearly everywhere. A plate lunch is a hot to go lunch in Hawaii that typically includes a scoop or two of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad and a hot entree like hamburger steak, shoyu chicken or chicken katsu.
Now I always keep a jar in my pantry and my day job desk drawer. Furikake is a staple in many local Hawaii homes. I like my furikake best when it’s…
- sprinkled over hot rice and topped with spicy ahi poke (my favorite is the California style from Kihei Foodland, spicy ahi with avocado and imitation crab)
- sprinkled over hot rice and topped with hot green tea and salmon (simple chazuke)
- in the middle of a musubi with a slice of fried spam and a touch of tonkatsu sauce
- mixed with hot buttered popcorn and arare or mochi crunch (Japanese rice crackers), this favorite local movie watching snack is known as hurricane popcorn
Speaking of hurricane, as I mulled over this post in my head this week while scanning Instagram (multi-tasking), I felt kismet. I spied hurricane cupcakes! Cupcakes made with furikake! How awesome is that…
These lovelies were made by one of my favorite Instagrammers, Lisa Deniz of Kaohu Cupcakes. Lisa lives and bakes her custom creations on Oahu. Some of her other tempting combinations are li hing lemon and peanut butter chocolate. She also makes cake pops and beautiful cake truffles. Like her FB page or follow @KaohuCupcakes on instagram and twitter for your own sweet peek.
Please share your own furikake tips and recipes below!