Red Shiso and Turnip Greens Furikake
If your family is like mine, you love furikake on rice. But as you know, some of the prepackaged varieties include msg (sad face). If you make your own, it’s much cheaper and healthier too.
I decided to make my own furikake with red shiso (aka-jiso) since I have some growing in the garden. Red shiso is rarely sold in stores, so it’s worth it to grow your own. It self-seeds and it’s a hardy plant that grows well here in Wisconsin.
The red shiso or “beefsteak plant” has a strong taste, not unlike basil but it’s a member of the mint family. According to my book Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji, it’s mainly used to make umeboshi (pickled plums). In the summer, I pick large leaves of it and make an infused sweet beverage – so good. There are also green shiso varieties too.
The new rage is to sun-dry vegetables, but today I roasted the red shiso leaves in a dry frying pan.
These turnips are in season here in Wisconsin. What to do with all these greens? Roast them, of course. Chop them up and dry roast them in a pan or in the sun.
If you add some salt to the pan, this will help draw the water out of the leaves and roasting will go much faster. The leaves need to be crispy dry in order to grind them into a powder.
Either take a Japanese suribachi or spice grinder and grind all the ingredients into a powder. A lot of greens became a few tablespoons of powder, so use a lot of greens. I also added roasted sesame seeds and fish flakes and salt and sugar to taste.
Shiso and Spring Greens Furikake
Makes 1/3 cup (double or triple the recipe)
Fresh shiso leaves, about 1 cup
Fresh turnip greens (can substitute other greens), at least 2-3 cups chopped small
Fish flakes (katsuo bushi), 2 tablespoons
Sesame seeds, roasted, 2 tablespoons
Sugar and salt to taste (1/2 teaspoon of each)
1. Dry-roast the shiso leaves and greens using until they are very dry. You can heat them in a dry pan on low heat or in the sun. Add salt to draw out moisture from the leaves. When the leaves are dry and crunchy, remove them from the pan.
2. In a suribachi or spice grinder, grind the leaves along with the fish flakes and sesame seeds. You may want to reserve some of the sesame seeds to keep them whole. Add the salt and sugar to taste and grind along with the ingredients.
3. Cool the furikake and store in a lidded jar in a cool, dry place for several weeks. Serve furikake sprinkled over rice or mixed in rice for onigiri.