Substitute For Furikake – 4 Crunchy Swaps With Umami Flavor

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

Previously, this seasoning was an unheard thing outside 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 seasoning does. 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, seaweed (nori), sugar, chili, orange peel, and Sichuan pepper. The traditional version has a savory, umami-loaded flavor.  These days, 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 seasoning is commonly eaten with hot boiled rice and a traditional ingredient in onigiri (rice balls).

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

The Best Substitute For Furikake

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

Shichimi togarashi

Togarashi is the Japanese word for red chili peppers. Shichimi togarashi literarily means “seven-flavor chili pepper”. Shichimi togarashi, also known as Japanese seven-spice powder, is used in Japanese cuisines just like furikake. It’s a commonly used topping for rice dishes, noodles, and vegetables. Besides the crucial ingredient ground sansho pepper, shichimi togarashi also includes sesame seeds and nori used in furikake seasoning as well. In fact, most people are comfortable with 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 substitute 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 seasoning 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.

Sesame seeds and nori can render a nutty, umami flavor of the furikake seasoning. Roasted nori gives an extra savoriness than using it raw. If you don’t have nori at your disposal, a blend of roasted sesame seeds and salt flakes can provide the same nutty and crunchy characteristics of furikake seasoning.

DIY 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 of 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 do have them on sale. Note, the soul of furikake seasoning is sesame seeds, nori, and salt, therefore you should include them.

How do you make furikake?

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 substitute for furikake seasoning than making your own blend.