Furikake is a condiment for sprinkling on rice in Japan. Conventional furikake is of mediocre quality however once in a while you come across some that is gourmet.
Sea of Japan Heshiko Furikake へしこ ふりかけ
Heshiko is a specialty of the Sea of Japan side of Japan, the other side of the island from Kyoto. It is a preserved dish made of fish, usually mackerel or sardine. It is preserved in salted rice bran for at least a year. It is usually very salty and goes well with beer or sake.
I recently made blog friends with a blogger who is the okami-san, or proprietress, of a nice ryokan inn and restaurant in Fukui prefecture, on the Sea of Japan. They make handmade furikake from their local meibutsu (famous product), heshiko.
I ordered several bags and they arrived this morning. I opened on up and had a sniffy-sniff, and wow, it was high powered stuff! My first reaction was ‘Sea of Japan!’, their culinary culture is really different from Kyoto. It is still pretty close to Kyoto, so we have quite a bit of heshiko in Kyoto. This is preserved, not fermented fish, but it is pungent, but not in an overly challenging way. I think that most Western folks, especially foodies could handle this.
I decided to cook up some rice for lunch. To go with gourmet furikake, I knew that it had to be excellent rice cooked in the donabe earthenware pot, which tastes better than made in an electric rice cooker.
The main ingredients are: mackerel heshiko powder, daikon radish leaf powder, sesame seed, katsuo powder, shiitake powder and ichimi chili powder.
This is what heshiko looks like when you buy it. This is sardine heshiko. To prepare heshiko, you simply wash the rice bran-salt mixture off and saute it in a bit of oil. It is very salty and pungent, so a little goes a long way. It can be put on plain rice or used as the flavoring for ochazuke. It is also a favorite tsumami (hors d’oeuvres) for drinkers.
Furikake on Rice Cooked in Donabe
Furikake on Rice Cooked in Donabe – detail