Vegan Matcha Furikake
Furikake (ふりかけ) is a class of savory condiment that’s typically sprinkled over rice to season it. Because it was developed initially as a calcium-rich nutritional supplement, it usually includes whole groundfish, but I’ve created a vegan and vegetarian friendly version that captures the crispy texture and umami-rich taste using plant-based ingredients.
Why This Recipe Works?
- By using a base of ground oats and whole sesame seeds, this Furikake has a splendidly crisp texture.
- Soy sauce, shiitake powder, and konbu cha contain compounds that create the umami taste. By adding these ingredients, we can make a flavorful furikake without any fish.
- Stirring in some matcha and aonori at the end gives the Furikake a vibrant green color and fresh flavor while imparting vitamins and antioxidants.
Ingredients for Vegan Furikake
- Dried shiitake mushrooms – Mushrooms contain a compound called GMP which synergize with amino acids in food to boost the taste of umami. Dried shiitakes are particularly rich in GMP, making it a great way to add umami to our Furikake.
- Rolled oats – Rolled oats, or oatmeal, provide this furikake’s substance. To keep it from looking like granola, I like to grind it up into a coarse meal with a food processor or using a mortar and pestle.
- Toasted sesame seeds – Sesame seeds add a nice texture to the Furikake while lending a nutty flavor and loads of nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron and vitamin B6. I used gold sesame seeds for this, but black or white sesame seeds will work as well.
- Soy sauce – Soy sauce is the primary seasoning for furikake, providing salt and umami.
- Salt – Furikake needs to be quite salty to make it effective as a seasoning for other foods. Seasoning it with only soy sauce would make it too wet, which is why I supplement it with salt.
- Brown sugar – Balancing savory and sweet tastes is a key component of Japanese cuisine, and for this Furikake, I’m using some Kokuto (black sugar). It’s a minimally processed sugar similar to Muscavado, Sucanat or coconut sugar.
- Konbu cha – Konbu cha literally means “kelp tea” in Japanese, and it’s a savory kelp stock that usually comes in powder or granules. Since kelp has a naturally high glutamate concentration, it’s a great way to add umami to our vegan Furikake.
- Oil – The oil helps get the oats crisp.
- Aonori – Aonori literally means “green nori,” and as the name implies, it’s a type of seaweed that has a vibrant green color. It comes in flakes and is more aromatic than regular nori, but if you can’t find it, you can shred nori sheets into thin strips using scissors.
- Matcha – Matcha is made by grinding green tea leaves into a very fine powder. It’s loaded with antioxidants, and it has a vibrant green color and fresh flavor that’s a nice contrast to the earthy oats and sesame seeds.
How to Make Vegan Furikake
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 300° F (150° C).
The first thing you need to do is grind the dried shiitake and oatmeal into a coarse meal. You can do this by crushing the oats between your fingers and then grating the shiitake with a Microplane, or you can do this in a food processor.
Transfer the ground oats and mushrooms into a bowl and stir in the sesame seeds.
To make the seasoning, add the brown sugar, soy sauce, salt, konbu cha, and oil to a separate bowl and whisk the ingredients together until evenly mixed.
Now you want to pour this mixture over the ground oats and stir everything until the ingredients are well combined.
Spread the Furikake mixture onto your prepared baking sheet and bake it for fifteen minutes. You’ll want to remove the sheet from the oven midway through and stir the Furikake to ensure it browns evenly.
Once the oats have crisped up, remove them from the oven and let them cool to room temperature. I like to use a rolling pin to break the clusters up into smaller pieces, making it easier to sprinkle.
Mixed the cooled Furikake with the aonori and matcha to finish it off.
The furikake will keep in a cool, dry place for a few weeks. I recommend storing it in an airtight, opaque container to protect it from light and humidity.
Other Vegan Japanese Recipes
Furikake (ふりかけ) literally means “sprinkled on” in Japanese, and it refers to a type of condiment that’s typically sprinkled on rice to season it. It was originally developed by a Japanese pharmacist as a nutritional supplement, but these days it’s enjoyed for the crisp texture and umami it adds to rice.
Furikake is a 4-syllable word that’s pronounced as follows:
fu like fool
ri like the “ri” sound does not exist in the English language, and the best way to make it is to say the word “ream” with the tip of your tongue at the front of your mouth.
ka like copy
ke like kept
This recipe makes vegan Furikake. That being said, most Furikake sold in stores contains such as bonito flakes or dried anchovies, so be sure to read the label if you’re going to buy it.
In Japan Furikake is primarily sprinkled on plain rice, but it can also be mixed into rice which is then shaped into onigiri. Outside of Japan I often see Furikake used as a season for sushi, but this is not very common in Japan. It’s also delicious sprinkled on salads, tofu, avocado toast, or steamed vegetables. Because this Furikake recipe includes matcha, it also doubles as an instant ochazuke which you can make by pouring hot water over the rice and Furikake.
- 3 grams dried shiitake mushroom (~1 small mushroom)
- 50 grams rolled oats (~1/2 cup)
- 20 grams toasted sesame seeds (~3 tablespoons)
- 11 grams brown sugar (~1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 grams konbu cha (~1 teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons aonori
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder
- Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Break the dried shiitake mushroom into small pieces and add them to a food processor. Run the processor until the shiitake is roughly ground up.
Add the rolled oats and grind the mixture until you have a coarse meal. If you don't have a food processor, you can crush the oatmeal with your fingers and use a Microplane to grate the shiitake into a powder.
- Transfer the ground oats into a bowl and add the sesame seeds.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, salt, konbu cha, and vegetable oil until the ingredients are evenly dissolved.
- Pour the seasoning over the oats and stir together until the mixture resembles wet sand.
- Dump this mixture onto your parchment-lined baking sheet and spread it out into a thin, even layer. Bake the Furikake for 15 minutes, stirring it once midway through.
- Once the Furikake is dry and crisp, remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Use a rolling pin to break up any large clusters.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and then mix it with the aonori and matcha.
- Transfer the Furikake to a bowl and mix in the aonori and matcha. Store your vegan Furikake in a sealed container.