Raw Brown or Wholegrain Rice

Furikake is a type of rice dressing, a very common pantry item in Japan. When I lived there I bought the little jars of spicy pickles and salted plums, the nori sheets (nori seaweed pressed sheets for making sushi), and make my own makeshift rice and vegetable sushi. I’ve seen families do this in Japan, but they usually add raw fish as the make filling of course. They’ll make a bowl of sticky rice (the most common rice in Japan), prepare all the sushi fillings and put the nori sheets in the centre of the table so everyone can make their own sushi rolls. It’s a bit like tacos as a make your own quick family meal in many Western countries.

I often like to eat a bowl steamed rice with toppings of raw celery, fresh coriander, this Furikake-style rice dressing and sometimes a bit of miso and wakame broth (using Hona Organic as it’s my favourite brand of organic Asian pantry staples). I also like the cookery books of Harumi Kurihara for descriptions and details (in both Japanese and English) on Japanese pantry items. thanks to Yukiko my dear student who first bought me her book as a gift. Her recipes are lovely and homey, and especially nice because she fuses Eastern and Western ingredients to make modern Japanese home cooked dishes.

Furikake is a toasted mixture of several seasonings and spices, finely sliced or torn nori sheets, sesame seeds and fish flakes (but I don’t put the fish flakes in in this recipe). Toasting the sesame seeds seriously diminishes their nutritional value as an excellent source of calcium and much more. So pound them a little and sprinkle them into the Furikake at the end if you prefer to keep them bursting with nutritional value. This recipe tosses all ingredients together to toast in the oven though.

This is my vegetarian version of a Furikake-style rice dressing. Don’t forget to store the dressing in a cool, dry place in the kitchen and consume within to 3 weeks.

Nori sheets (torn into small pieces or sliced and shredded neatly with scissors if you prefer), 3
Black sesame seeds, 3 tbsp
White sesame seeds, 3 tbsp       
Chilli powder (cayenne also works well), a pinch
Ground ginger, a pinch     
Ground coriander, a pinch    
Garlic or celery salt, a pinch  
Black pepper, a pinch    
Herbamare (a type of seaweed and vegetable natural salt), 1 tbsp    
Soya sauce (preferably organic & low sodium, I like the brand Hona Organic best), 1 tbsp
Mirin sauce, 1 tsp        
Toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp        
Extra-virgin coconut oil, 1 tsp    

Preparation Time
15 minutes

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients and pound for a few minutes with the end of a rolling pin or a pestle and mortar.
3. Add the soy sauce and mirin and stir to coat the mixture evenly. Add the nori and stir to combine.
4. Spread the mixture in and even layer on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is dry and slightly toasted. Keep an eye on it while it cooks to ensure it doesn’t burn.
6. Allow the mixture to cool for about 2 hours before transferring it to a tightly-sealed container.

The traditional nori rice dressing contains the common Japanese garnish fish flakes, which I do not use because it is not vegetarian, but you could add fish sauce (which comes from fish eggs) if you prefer a taste closer to the nori dressing you find in Japan. Add pounded pine nuts as well for added flavour.

Alternative Options
Substitute the Herbamare for another sea salt or seaweed salt, or add more celery salt. Substitute the coconut oil or sesame oil for another of your choice, like the delicious heat-stable avocado oil.

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