This is a quick post and a follow-up from my last one: smoked salmon onigiri.
These delicious, tasty little snacks — onigiri…have you tried (making) them?
To lend the onigiri a bit more flavor, I added a dry seasoning mix, furikake, to the rice.
My version of furikake includes toasted sesame seeds (black and white), dried seaweed (nori), bonito flakes/Katsuobushi (dried, fermented, and smoked skip jack tuna), dehydrated shiso leaves, and salt.
In addition to onigiri/rice, furikake makes a great all-around seasoning for vegetables, salads, eggs, noodles, fish, and even popcorn.
Furikake is my new best friend in the spice cabinet. I like to sprinkle it on just about everything.
There are many commercial/store versions of furikake out there. Some are made with dried salmon, fish roe, shrimp, egg (tomago), wasabi, etc., and some with, perhaps, unwanted ingredients such as MSG or sugar.
The good news: Furikake is easy to make. In doing so, you decide what ingredients to add. You’re in control. You can make it vegetarian by omitting the bonito.
I happen to really like the addition of shiso leaves, which I dehydrated and then crumbled into little pieces.
Shiso is the Japanese name for an annual herb called Perilla, which is a member of the mint family.
Shiso leaves have a unique herbaceous quality to them. Sometimes described as citrusy, minty, or having notes of basil, anise, or cinnamon, shisho is difficult to pin down as far as a flavor profile is concerned.
Shisho leaves can be reddish-purple or green. The reddish variety is typically used to color umemboshi (Japanese pickled plums), a common onigiri filling.
Here’s a nice link to other ideas (43 of them) regarding how to use shiso.
I found the shiso leaves at the Union Square Green City Market [Lani’s Farm, Burlington County, New Jersey]. They have a superb selection of mainstream and hard-to-find greens; I always walk away with something new to experiment with in the kitchen.
1/4 cup dried shiso
1/3 cup dried nori
1/3 cup toasted white sesame seeds, divided
1/3 cup toasted black sesame seeds, divided
1/3 cup bonito flakes, lightly packed
sea salt to taste
To dehydrate the shiso leaves: Dehydrate (in a dehydrator) until completely dried and brittle, about 45 minutes. Crumble into little pieces.
Mix the dehydrated shiso, *nori, half of the white and black sesame seeds, bonito flakes, and salt in a spice grinder. Pulse a few times until the consistency of small flakes. Transfer to a small bowl and add in the rest of the sesame seeds.
*I cut the nori by hand into little pieces, but you could also pulse in the spice grinder, just make sure not to pulse too fine.