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In Japan, a simple bowl of white rice is considered something to enjoy on its own, and often people season it with one of a variety of crispy, salty umami-rich seasonings called furikake.
There are hundreds of varieties of furikake, but the basic ingredients usually include dried seafood, sesame seeds and seaweed.
Our Ume-Shiso Furikake blend is a delicious, vegan variation on this tasty tradition. It features a few classic staples of the Japanese pantry: shiso leaf, umeboshi and miso.
Shiso leaf is a tart, peppery, slightly minty herb. You'll find the green shiso leaf on your sashimi platter. We use the red shiso leaf in our blend.
To make umeboshi, the fresh ume (a very specific type of plum) are covered in salt and red shiso and pickled, then sun-dried. The result is a sweet, sour and salty condiment.
We also add dried red miso. Miso is, of course, one of the most essential Japanese ingredients. It's a fermented paste of soybeans, a type of culture called koji and salt.
These fermented ingredients add umami to the nutty flavors of sesame seeds and the taste of the ocean from seaweed.
Ume-Shiso Furikake is delicious on the traditional bowl of rice, but it's also a versatile seasoning that you'll find yourself sprinkling on avocado, eggs, popcorn, or noodles.
This soba noodle salad recipe is one of those simple weeknight dishes that can be made with whatever veggies strike your fancy -- or can be found in your fridge.
Perfect for a summer BBQ or a simple dinner, it pairs Ume-Shiso Furikake with a classic ginger-soy dressing. It's also delicious with a little shredded poached chicken if you're so inclined.
Soba Noodle Salad with Ume-Shiso Furikake
Dressing:3 tablespoons rice vinegar3 tablespoons soy sauce1 1/2 tablespoons honey1 tablespoon grated ginger1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil1 tablespoon chili paste (optional)Salad:12 oz buckwheat soba noodles1 cup frozen, shelled edamame1 medium carrot, grated½ cup minced green onion1 small Persian cucumber, grated¼ cup cilantro leaves2 tbsp Ume-Shiso FurikakeDirections:Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook soba noodles according to package directions. About 4 minutes from the end of cooking time, add the frozen edamame. Drain and rinse under cold water.Whisk dressing ingredients together.Combine the noodles, edamame, carrot, green onion, cucumber, cilantro, furikake and dressing and toss to combine. Add salt or more furikake to taste. Garnish with more chili paste if desired.
With a good fried rice recipe under your belt, leftover white rice never needs to go to waste again. We top this version with a crispy egg fried in sesame oil and sprinkle it with our bright and slightly spicy Shichimi Togarashi.
We are big fans of popcorn in our house, not only because it's the perfect snack to go with movie night, but because it's a great palette for spice experiments!