Delving into Seaweed

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When I was a young girl my Mother’s younger brother came to visit us on his way to his new assignment with the Marines. He had just been transferred from Japan to California where I lived. My uncle brought us a surprise, his Japanese wife, Sachiko. I thought she was the most exotic and wonderful person! I thought that I was the luckiest girl alive when, that summer, and several thereafter. I was allowed to stay a few weeks in their apartment with them.

My Aunt spoke pretty good English and she set about teaching me all about her culture and language. I can still speak a few sentences in Japanese and I love Japanese food and culture. I dream that some day I will be lucky enough to visit Japan. One thing I remember liking that she made was a condiment that she and my Uncle used on everything (or so it seemed). It was furikake, pronounced something like foo-ree-kah-kee.

Simple homemade furikake
Simple homemade furikake

Basically, furikake is seaweed and sesame seed. It is one of those simple condiments that every Japanese family uses and has their own style of making. Some people like it with a lot of salt, or dried bonito, or dried shrimp, or with wasabi or chili flakes. The seaweed used is a very thin sheet called nori. I am so excited to say that I discovered these sheets at Costco. They are their own brand and, best of all, they are already toasted.

Kirkland nori
Kirkland nori

Today I was so excited that I found this, I made my own furikake. All I wanted was a simple style to put on my rice, I just toasted some white sesame seed and tossed them with some of the nori that I had cut up with my kitchen shears. YUM! Lots of people add sugar, salt or some from of dried fish. I just wanted a simple condiment to put over my rice for lunch. Ha! Actually.I will be like my Aunt and Uncle were, putting it on my eggs, rice, noodles, grilled fish and meat, or just about anything that can use a little umamai and taste of the sea!

An internet search will come up with dozens of furikake recipes. Most of the include salt, sugar, as well as the nori and sesame seed. I just put some sesame seeds in a dry skillet and toasted them. I cut the sheets of nori into small strips and put them into my largest bowl. While the sesame seed was hot, I poured them over the nori and tossed them together. Done! No sugar or salt because I thought them unnecessary. It is delicious and I want to eat it right out of the jar!

I encourage you to make your own furikake and eat it!

Tomorrow I am going to post about what else I did with this delicious seaweed!

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