Do you know what Furikake is and how to use it? It’s a Japanese condiment made from dried fish, sesame seeds, and seaweed flakes.
Commonly sprinkled onto onigiri rice balls or over cooked dishes like steamed vegetable, furkake adds a salty-umami burst of flavor with a crunchy texture.
But if you’re not familiar with this popular condiment and are seeking alternative tofurikake seasoning, there are some substitutes that work just as well.
Here’s an introduction to five of the best replacements for Furikake that can liven up your meals.
What is Furikake?
Furikake is a Japanese dry seasoning made of dried seaweed, fish flakes, sesame seeds, sugar and salt.
It may also include other ingredients like shrimp or egg.
It is usually sprinkled over cooked rice dishes such as ochazuke, onigiri (rice balls) and yakiniku donburi (grill steak over rice dishes).
Furikake is also sometimes used to flavor soups and salads.
Furikake is a popular condiment in Japan; it is believed to have originated in the late 1800s as a way to add flavor to plain rice dishes.
The word “furikake” literally translates into “sprinkled over”, referring to the manner in which the seasonings are applied to food.
It can be bought premade at most grocery or specialty stores in both powder form and pre-seasoned version.
In Japan, there are many varieties of furikake ranging from spicy wasabi flavored varieties to milder ones made with kelp or yogurt flavors.
Furikake is not only used as a condiment but also as an ingredient in baked goods such as croquettes or dorayaki pancakes because of its salty-sweet notes.
While some may find it slightly salty by itself, furikake can be incorporated into dishes like nori rolls with vegetables and umeboshi (pickled plums) for extra flavor with less sodium than most traditional ingredients.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Furikake
While furikake is widely available in Japan and at Asian markets in other countries, for those who don’t have access to it or who want a vegan option, there are several tasty substitutes available.
Here are five great alternatives for furikake:
1 – Homemade Furikake Seasoning
Creating your own Furikake seasoning from scratch is a great way to kick up the flavor in any dish.
Start with equal parts white and black sesame seeds, then add other traditional ingredients such as dried seaweed, wasabi powder and shichimi (Japanese seven-spice mix).
To this base, you can add other elements like dried shrimp, minced bonito flakes or miso paste for extra flavor.
Once you have your mix prepared, store it in an airtight container and sprinkle it over cooked rice or vegetables just before serving.
It adds a nutty, earthy depth of flavor that takes dishes from mundane to amazing.
2 – Nori Flakes
Nori flakes, like the kind that come from seaweed, are a great alternative to furikake and have a subtle umami flavor with little to no sodium.
Nori flakes are often used in Japanese cooking as a condiment and can be found in most Asian grocery stores.
For added flavor and color, you can blend nori flakes with sesame or poppy seeds, salt, sugar and other seasonings.
The blended nori is then baked until crispy and used as a substitute for furikake to top off dishes like rice, noodles and salads.
3 – Schichimi Togarashi
Schichimi Togarashi, or simply “7-flavor chili pepper”, is a traditional Japanese spice blend, made from seven different ingredients.
It typically consists of red chili pepper, sansho, a citrus peel called yuzu kosho, sesame seeds and nori or dried seaweed.
It is also common for schichimi togarashi to contain hemp seeds or poppy seeds.
Unlike some of the other Japanese seasoning blends outlined below, it can be used on its own as a condiment for rice dishes or noodle soups.
The flavors are often described as being both salty and spicy, with an underlying warmth that comes from the sesame and poppyseed oils in the blend.
4 – Salt + Sesame Seeds
Salt + sesame seeds is a great substitute for furikake, especially if you’re looking for something simple and quick.
While it won’t taste exactly like furikake, it will still provide a nice umami flavor and the sesame seeds give a nice crunchy texture to any dish.
To use this as a substitute, mix equal parts of sea or kosher salt with toasted sesame seeds.
Sprinkle the mixture over whatever food you’re preparing (e.g., rice, vegetables, fish) to enjoy its delicious flavor.
5 – Crumbled Nori (seaweed), Sesame Seeds
Nori is a type of edible seaweed that has been dried and cut into sheets.
It is best known for being used to roll sushi, but it can also be crumbled up and used as a go-to furikake substitute.
Nori is rich in minerals like iodine and magnesium, making it an extremely nutritious food.
Due to the fact that it’s dried and not cooked, it holds its nutritional content perfectly well and is easier for your body to absorb.
To use nori as a furikake substitute, simply crumble the sheets over steamed rice or vegetables and sprinkle with some sesame seeds before serving.
Sesame seeds bring additional flavor layers to the table while also providing immense health benefits – they’re packed with fiber, vitamins B1 and B2 as well as minerals like calcium, phosphorus and iron.
Together with nori seaweed thrown on top of whatever you’re serving up – you have an amazing furikake substitute ready in no time.
In conclusion, furikake is a popular Japanese seasoning that can be used for various dishes.
It can help add flavor and umami to your meals.
While the most authentic option would be to use actual furikake, there are several alternatives available for those who are unable to get access to this product.
No matter which option you choose, you’ll be sure to bring a new flavor dimension to your recipes.