Category: condiment

Watermelon Rind Kimchi

Watermelon Rind Kimchi

Watermelon Rind Kimchi? Well, I love watermelon. We eat an embarrassing amount in our house. We even used to have watermelon eating contests…and not even as a fun thing to do with our kids. Just me and my husband, don’t judge. But with copious amounts read more

Eggplant Dip

Eggplant Dip

Got a bumper crop of eggplants? This Eggplant Dip is an effortlessly delicious way to use them up! The eggplant gets broiled until the flesh is meltingly tender, with the slightly charred and smoky flavor you’d get from the grill. Without the whole standing outside read more



Way before Everything Bagel seasoning took the food world by storm, Furikake had been seasoning rice for generations of Japanese people. Though it’s still used mostly for rice, it enhances nearly everything it touches, and there isn’t much we can’t sprinkle it on. From avocado toast to popcorn, Furikake adds salty, savory, funky, crunchy bits of goodness. You’ll find a million uses for it, and it makes a great gift for your foodie friends. It’s also easy and fun to make, and as always, homemade beats the bottled stuff by a mile. Today, I’m showing you a pretty typical combination. What makes it a little unique is that we are using leftover ingredients.

I’m one of those people who can scrape together a meal even if the refrigerator looks suspiciously empty. That’s my super power 😉 And I really hate to throw food out, so I’m always finding ways of repurposing ingredients. Upcycling! It’s a thing people-even with food. So after some miso soup and shabu shabu recipe posts left me with bags of spent kombu and katsuobushi (bonito flakes), I knew even our dog Mina wasn’t going to be able to power through all of the leftovers. Furikake to the rescue! And it’s so easy, so come on, let’s upcycle together.

furikake ingredients

What is in Furikake?

That answer can vary wildly. In Japan, there are literally dozens to choose from at a typical grocery store. Inexpensive ones can be little more than seasoned salt but some upscale versions have wild salmon, chunks of cod roe, or dried scallops. Furikake means “to sprinkle over” so that covers a lot of ground. Virtually any dry combination you can shake to top some bland base is acceptable.

My version has all my favorite little goodies in it. Both black and white toasted sesame seeds, kombu, katsuobushi, schichimi, nori, and tiny dried boiled sardines called chirimen. Once you’ve made a batch, you can always tailor it to your individual tastes. Want it a little hotter? Add more of the schichimi pepper blend or even some dried chili flakes. Can’t get enough of the gloriously toasted nuttiness of sesame seeds? Throw some more in there.

furikake feature

From Scratch Furikake

Making this flavor bomb from scratch is simple. Whenever I make a dashi stock, like when I make Miso Soup or Oden Fish Stew, I save the kombu and katsuobushi and throw them into little baggies to store in the freezer. Then, when I want to make a batch of furikake, it’s there waiting for me. (Of course, you could also start with kombu and the tuna flakes straight out of their containers. The kombu will have to be softened in water first.)

corn furikake

sugar furikake

Once all the liquid has been absorbed, and the katsuobushi is dry and crisp, transfer to a bowl and let it cool.

nori furikake

Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, your furikake will last for weeks, and you can keep it in the freezer for months. Of course, with so many tempting ways to use it, it’s not going to last that long.

Try sprinkling some on:

Or use it to give Asian flair to some basic foods: boiled eggs, boiled noodles, sliced avocado, tomatoes, etc. And of course, you can enjoy it in the traditional Japanese way by using it to embellish some plain steamed rice. We want to know what uses you find for Furikake- leave a comment below and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!



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furikake recipe card


  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6 1x


  • 1 oz reserved kombu (from making dashi)*
  • 2 oz reserved katsuobushi (from making dashi)*
  • 2 Tablespoons chirimen (dried boiled sardines)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds
  • ½ Tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon shichimi pepper blend
  • 3 pieces of 2”x3” seasoned nori (either Korean style or Teriyaki flavored works fine)


  • 2 teaspoons sugar 
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt 


  1. Cut the kombu and katsuobushi into small pieces. (About the size of a kernel of corn). 
  2. Put the katsuobushi and kombu into a small pan and cook over medium low heat for 5-6 minutes until it is dry. 
  3. Add the chirimen and stir to combine.
  4. Add sugar, salt, and soy sauce and continue cooking on medium-low heat until the liquid is completely absorbed, and katsuobushi is dry and crisp, about 7-9 minutes.
  5. Transfer the furikake to a container or bowl and let it cool to room temperature. 
  6. Cut the nori with kitchen scissors into small bits, similar in size to the kombu. 
  7. Then add the nori, sesame seeds, and shichimi pepper blend. Stir to combine.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks or freeze it for up to a month.


*When you make homemade dashi or homemade mentsuyu (noodle soup base), put the “used” katsuobushi and kombu in a ziptop bag and save it in the freezer for this furikake recipe. If you have more kombu and katsuobushi you want to use up, simply adjust the amount of seasoning according to your taste.

Keywords: furikake, rice seasoning, japanese, everything bagel, seasoning, seaweed, katsuobushi, spices



Ponzu sauce is a fundamental Japanese condiment. Its versatility is unmatched-use it as a dipping sauce, a marinade, even the base of a salad dressing. When my parents first opened a restaurant in Miami in the 70’s, this was the recipe they used. Over 40 read more

Young Ginger Condiment

Young Ginger Condiment

I love condiments. They are the easiest way I know to add lots of new flavor to old favorites. You can make a weekly steamed fish and change it up just by topping it with a different condiment each time. I love creating my own read more

Shio Koji

Shio Koji

Mold doesn’t sound very appetizing. But mold is involved in the making of so many foods we enjoy; from baked goods to aged steaks. Mold is a crucial part of the fermenting process-hello wine and cheese! It has also been used for centuries to make Shio Koji-an essential Japanese seasoning. Made from rice that is inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae, Shio Koji has a mild and sweet flavor that is the basis of miso paste and one of the most versatile ingredients in a Japanese kitchen.

shio koji finished


Shio Koji can be used as a marinade to both tenderize and flavor meats, as part of a sauce, or as a replacement for salt. Although it takes about a week to make, the process is almost completely hands off. With the Shio Koji, we are going to make some pickles, which are essential to a traditional Japanese meal. It’s really quick and easy to make, and the perfect way to highlight the use of Shio Koji.

shio koji

Making Shio Koji

If you live in a big city with a large Asian population, you can probably find commercially prepared Shio Koji at a well stocked Asian grocer. I haven’t had any luck finding it in Miami, though I did find some while visiting my daughter who has an H Mart (the Asian super store) nearby.

bottle shio koji

But Shio Koji is very simple to make from scratch and a wonderful ingredient to have on hand. You will need to buy Koji rice; I got mine from Amazon. There are a couple different strains of the Koji culture. The rice I got was snow white but I’ve also seen it a darker color.

clumps shio koji

massage shio koji

The fermentation process is helped by massaging the rice, so do it for several minutes. Next we put the mixture into a container and allow it to ferment for about 10 days-a couple days less in the summer where it will ferment more quickly, and a couple days more in the winter when the temperature in your house drops. I put the container in a cabinet so it’s out of the way, but make sure you don’t forget about it. Stir the contents gently with a clean spoon every couple of days. You will notice the mixture getting thicker as the days go by and you should notice a sweet smell as well.

Once the koji is ready, store it in the fridge. It will last for up to 6 months. Use a spoonful whenever you want to add a pop of umami to a dish. It’s also popular to marinate meats, like chicken or pork, with Shio Koji. Coat the meat with a couple tablespoons per piece and marinate overnight for the best flavor. Or, use it to make pickles!

Shio Koji Pickles

Pickles hold a very elevated spot in Japanese food culture. There is hardly a meal that doesn’t have a little bowl of some type of pickled vegetables. Sometimes pickles are the main event, served simply with some steamed rice. They are wonderful starters, as they enhance appetites. Served as a side, they offer a bright balance to a heavier meal. There are many different styles of Japanese pickles, like this quick Daikon pickle. Those made with Shio Koji are called shiokojizuke, and any kind of vegetable can be pickled in this style.

No matter what type of pickle is enjoyed, they all offer outstanding health benefits from the probiotics and enzymes. Pickles are great for digestion and full of micronutrients. For this very quick pickle dish, I’m using cucumbers, carrots, and radishes for a variety of colors and textures. Some other vegetables to consider for this pickle include daikon radish, green cabbage, or even chayote squash.

I start by cleaning and trimming the veggies. Other than maybe cutting the vegetables in half to fit your container, there’s really no other prep.

prep shio koji

kombu shio koji

sugar shio koji

At this point I let the pickles sit on the counter for a couple hours, and then I put them in the fridge for at least four hours, or ideally overnight. They will get saltier, and more pickle-ier (yes I just made up a word) the longer they sit. You can rinse the koji off or leave it on. I prefer the little specks of white on the colorful veggies, but it’s totally up to you. (Once the vegetables are done pickling, you can pull them out of the marinade, rinse them off, and store them in a different container to keep them from continuing to absorb the marinade. They will keep for several days.)

I generally do not throw out the used marinade. Instead, I will do a couple more batches of veggies, increasing the marinating time as the koji gets watered down with each batch. Make sure you use clean utensils when digging into your container as you do not want to introduce any bacteria that will create spoilage.

platter shio koji


I love to eat these crunchy pickles as is, but they are also excellent anywhere you enjoy pickles. These pickles do not have a strong flavor so they are incredibly versatile and would make a great addition to any number of meals: on sandwiches, to add some zip to a salad, a welcome side to grilled fish, as part of a charcuterie platter…how will you serve them? Let us know by leaving a comment below, or tagging us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

shio koji beauty



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recipe card shio koji

Shio Koji

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6 1x
  • Category: small plates
  • Cuisine: Japanese



For the Shio Koji:

  • 10 oz dry rice koji (300 g)
  • ¼ cup sea salt (60 g)
  • 16 ounces water (473 g)*

For Pickles:

  • 6 red radishes
  • 2 small persian cucumbers
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup prepared shio koji
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 whole dried chilies
  • 2 large garlic cloves smashed
  • 1 square kombu, cut into 4 pieces


Make the Shio Koji:

  1. Put the rice in a bowl and use your hands to break up the rice into small pieces.
  2. Add the salt and continue massaging the rice for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add half of the water and continue squeezing and massaging the rice for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining water and stir. 
  5. Pour the mixture into a container and cover with a lid. Store the container in the warmest part of your kitchen. (I put mine in a cabinet near the stove.)
  6. Let the mixture ferment for approximately 10 days. Mix the contents with a spoon every couple of days.
  7. The shio koji is ready to use when the mixture is thickened and there is a gentle sweet scent. Store the shio koji in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Pickles:

  1. Wash all of the vegetables. Trim and peel the carrots. Trim the cucumbers and the radishes.
  2. Fit the vegetables into a tight shallow container. 
  3. (You can also use a gallon zip top plastic bag.)
  4. Add the smashed garlic, kombu, and dried chilies on top of the vegetables. 
  5. Mix the sugar and the shio koji together until the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Pour the mixture over the vegetables. Place the lid on top of the container. If using the bag, push all of the air out of the bag and zip it closed.
  7. Leave the container out on the counter for a couple hours then place in the refrigerator.
  8. Refrigerate the vegetables at least 4 hours or overnight. The vegetables will continue to get saltier as they marinate. The veggies are ready to eat after the first day.
  9. You can rinse the koji off before eating or eat it without rinsing.
  10. Once the vegetables are pickled to your liking, you can take it out of the brine, rinse it off and store it until ready to eat. The vegetables keep for a week refrigerated.


* Avoid hard water or alkaline water and do not use rock or kosher salt.

*I reuse the marinade a couple of times, increasing the pickling time to adjust for the decreasing saltiness. 

Keywords: shio koji, japanese pickles, fermented foods, asian condiments