Tired of eating plain white rice? Wanna shake things up a bit?
Try adding a few of these furikake (rice seasoning) flavours to your freshly made rice for an infusion of flavour.
Furikake comes in a variety of forms and prices. From mini packs to take on the go, resealable packs which are the most common, or bottled versions for more premium brands. Prices range from 100 Yen all the way up to about 1000 Yen, depending on the flavour and brand. I recommend starting out cheap, find a flavour you like, then trying the premium brand from there.
Here are a few standard flavours that you will find in your travels in Japan, or maybe in an Asian grocer abroad. Live on the edge and give them a try!
This stuff is the best. Purple. Covering the beautiful white rice in a bed of color. This flavouring is made up of dried and powdered purple shiso leaves. This one has a very distinct flavour which is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is very traditional. The shiso plant is also called the perilla or beefsteak plant. Who knew? In my opinion, it tastes like mom’s home cooking, but don’t overdo it. It is very easy to get tired of this flavour if you eat it daily.
Salmon is delicious, there is simply no question. But, do you really want to go to the trouble of smoking or drying fresh salmon, adding salt, flaking it all out, and the spreading it on your rice? No. Me neither. Buy the packaged stuff. It tastes great, gives you a small boost of protein, and the pink color looks quite pretty on white rice. I have no idea why, but my favourite is the Marumiya brand pictured above. It is not too fishy, not too salty, and it is soft, rather than crunchy.
I also love the multi pack from 7-11. It is great, because you can keep a few small packs in your bag in case of furikake emergencies.
Eggs are great! High in protein, high in taste, adding a dash of yellow to your dish! But, they can be a slight pain to make. The egg furikake tastes great, and does the trick to brighten up your otherwise boring boxed lunch. Often, you can find egg mixed with other ingredients, like seaweed. It usually has a pleasant crunch to it as well. Give it a go!
Sesame seeds are delicious on white rice. You can find sesame seed (goma) dressing, sauce, and furikake in Japan. The premium brands may cost a little more, but they deliver excellent flavour and crunch. To me, it seems like a more ‘adult’ taste. Think of milk chocolate vs bitter chocolate. If you happen to pop by a restaurant that has this for the taking by the other condiments, give it a try. Yum yum!
Wasabi is the KING of the furikake, in my opinion. Delicious, clears the sinuses, and just a slight bit spicy. Sprinkle this over the rice and you are good to go. Of all the flavours, this one is my favourite. There is a bottle at home, in my work desk, in my car, well, you get the idea.
So, there it is, the secret to making plain white rice even more delicious! Just remember, use furikake in moderation! If not, you may get sick of one particular flavour and be turned off for a long time. As furikake is quite cheap, get a few flavours and mix and match! Happy seasoning!