Substitutes For Furikake Seasoning With Umami Flavor

Furikake seasoning is an all-around seasoning blend that is strongly embedded in Japanese gourmet culture. Often, it’s used as a flavorful topping for rice and noodles.

Previously, this table condiment was unheard of outside of Japan, but currently, it’s gaining a lot of interest and popularity across the globe. However, furikake is still not easily available in many parts of the world.

If you can’t get it, there are other alternatives that produce a similar umami flavor as this one. This article looks at the best substitutes for furikake that you may consider.

What Is Furikake?

Furikake is a Japanese seasoning that is made of granulated fish and vegetable extracts. Also, it can include other ingredients like sesame seeds, nori seaweed, sugar, chili, orange peel, and Sichuan pepper.

The traditional version has a savory, umami-loaded flavor. Now, it is available in a wide variety of flavors and in different versions with varying ingredients.

It has a coarse texture and adds a characteristic purple color, rich aroma, and crunch to any dish – just sprinkle it on anything you’d add salt and pepper to. In Japan, this mixture is commonly eaten with hot boiled rice or as a traditional ingredient in onigiri (rice balls). It’s often used in sushi bake as well.

To buy furikake, look for it in the international aisle of supermarkets, Asian food specialty stores, or online.

Best Substitute For Furikake Seasoning 

You won’t easily find furikake in most places where Japanese foods aren’t popular. Finding a replacement for this condiment may become a necessity when you don’t find it. Here are some simple and easy furikake substitutes you can use in a pinch.

Shichimi Togarashi

Togarashi is the Japanese word for red chili peppers. Shichimi Togarashi literally means “seven-flavor chili pepper.” It is also known as Japanese seven-spice powder and is used in Japanese cuisine just like furikake. It’s a commonly used topping for rice dishes, noodles, and vegetables.

Besides the crucial ingredient of ground sansho pepper, shichimi togarashi also includes toasted sesame seeds and nori sheets, which are used in furikake seasoning as well.

In fact, most people are comfortable using shichimi togarashi and furikake interchangeably as they have a somewhat similar flavor profile.

You can make the Japanese seven spices blend on your own or buy the pre-mixed blend. Use shichimi togarashi as a 1:1 swap for furikake seasoning.

Nanami Togarashi

Nanami Togarashi is a spicy powdered assortment of dried chili peppers. The other ingredients in Nanami are such as orange peel, sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, seaweed, and ginger. This flavorful seasoning is frequently used in noodle soups or to spice up any other dish.

Nanami togarashi and shichimi togarashi are a lot similar in ingredients and taste except for the orange peel included in the former. The ingredients in Nanami Togarashi, like sesame seeds, nori, and chili pepper, make this spice blend a wonderful replacement for furikake.

Other Simple Alternatives

A combination of two or more ingredients similar to the constituents in furikake can be used as a quick and easy swap for furikake in an emergency.

White and black sesame seeds and unseasoned nori seaweed sheets can impart a nutty, umami flavor to the Japanese furikake seasoning. Roasted nori gives an extra savoriness to using it raw. If you don’t have nori at your disposal, a blend of simple ingredients like roasted sesame seeds and salt flakes can provide the same nutty and crunchy characteristics of furikake seasoning.

Homemade Furikake Seasoning

Instead of the pre-mixed furikake seasoning, you can easily make it on your own. Homemade furikake seasoning blend gives you the freedom to use the ingredients according to your taste preferences. For example, you may not like too much nori or do not enjoy the fishy aspect of bonito flake. You are free to experiment and find an ideal version of customized furikake that suits your taste.

Most ingredients in this Japanese rice seasoning are easy to find, as most supermarkets have them on sale. Note that the essence of this condiment is sesame seeds, nori, and salt, therefore, you should include them.

How do you make furikake? (Furikake seasoning recipe)

Use lightly ground sesame seeds and then toast them until fragrant and golden. Mix the roasted sesame seeds with shredded nori and salt and sugar to the mixture in proportion. Additional ingredients that you can add to this mixture are bonito, dried shiso, chili flakes, miso powder, or shiitake powder. You can store the homemade furikake seasoning in an air-tight container for up to 6 months. Honestly, there is no better alternative to this Japanese seasoning than making your own blend.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is katsuo fumi furikake?

Katsuo fumi furikake is a tasty Japanese mix used to flavor food. It's made from dried bonito fish flakes, sesame seeds, seaweed, a bit of sugar, salt, and soy sauce. This seasoning is great on rice, veggies, and noodles. It tastes savory and salty with a sweet touch and a dash of umami.

Do bonito flakes go bad?

Bonito flakes, a popular ingredient, do expire. They stay good for up to two years unopened, but it's better to use them within a year. After opening, store them in the fridge in an airtight container and use within three months. Signs of spoilage include a strong fishy smell, color change, or a decrease in flavor.

What is nori furikake?

Nori furikake is a flavorful Japanese seasoning blend. It combines dried seaweed (nori), sesame seeds, salt, and various other seasonings. This condiment is great for enhancing the taste of rice, vegetables, noodles, and more.

Does furikake expire?

Certainly! Furikake does have an expiration date. Unopened furikake remains good for months beyond the date, preferably within a year. Once opened, store it in a sealed container in the fridge and use within 1-3 months. Look for changes in color, smell, or taste to detect spoilage.

Does furikake need to be refrigerated?

No need to refrigerate furikake before opening. Its dry ingredients are stable at room temp. Yet, after opening, store in a sealed container in the fridge to prolong freshness.

Is furikake gluten free?

Furikake's gluten-free status varies by brand and ingredients. Some contain wheat flour, not suitable for gluten-sensitive individuals. Yet, numerous brands offer gluten-free furikake with ingredients like seaweed and sesame seeds. Always scrutinize the label for gluten-free assurance.

Is furikake healthy?

Furikake can be healthy if you eat it as part of a balanced diet. It has nutrients like calcium, iodine, and iron. Seaweed, which is in furikake, also gives you protein and fiber from plants.

Is furikake vegan?

Not all furikake is vegan because traditional versions include dried bonito flakes from tuna, an animal product. But, there are vegan types too, using things like seaweed, sesame seeds, nuts, and spices for a tasty flavor.

Which furikake is best?

Choosing the best furikake depends on what you like and your diet. Some top picks include:
• Marumiya Noritama: Mixes seaweed and egg for a savory, sweet taste.
• Mishima Yukari Shiso: Has red shiso leaves for a unique flavor.
• JFC International: A mix of seaweed, sesame seeds, dried fish, and spices.
• S&B La-Yu Chili Oil: Spicy with chili oil, sesame seeds, and seaweed.
• S&B Nanami Togarashi: Combines seven spices, including chili and sesame.

Final Thoughts

Furikake, a flavorful Japanese seasoning, blends sesame seeds, seaweed, dried bonito flakes, and salt, perfect for rice, noodles, and vegetables.

No furikake? Make your own with toasted sesame seeds, nori, and salt, adding bonito flakes or chili for extra zest. Alternatively, try pre-made blends like sesame-salt Gomashio or spicy shichimi togarashi. Or, mix crushed seaweed and sesame seeds for a quick, tasty furikake substitute.

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