Established as a part of the United States in 1959, Hawaii is the youngest of the fifty states. It is a melting pot of many different cultures, but Japanese influence stands out especially in modern Hawaiian cuisine – from panko breaded chicken cutlets covered in Japanese curry sauce to ahi tuna poke, a raw tuna salad made with soy sauce.
While many look to Africa and the Middle East when thinking of moringa, Hawaii was the first American state to cultivate it. Additionally, the flavor of moringa has been compared to matcha, or Japanese green tea. How serendipitous that moringa can easily be added to many Hawaiian snacks to give it that extra flavor and nutrition.
A favorite of many Japanese and Hawaiians is furikake (pronounced foo-ree-cah-keh), rice topping usually containing seaweed, dehydrated fish flakes, sesame seeds, and seasoning. Furikake has been described as an easy way to add umami (the fifth flavor profile in addition to sweet, sour, salty, bitter) to food.
Store bought furikake can contain MSG and other “filler” ingredients, so here’s an easy recipe for you to make your own, moringa-inspired version at home. This recipe is vegan, but you can add bonito, dried tuna flakes, for more smoky, savory flavor.
- 1 sheet chopped nori (roasted seaweed sheets found in most Asian grocery stores)
- 2 Tbsp black sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp white sesame seeds
- 2 tsp Pure Moringa Powder
- Salt to taste (I recommend natural sea salt or Pink Himalayan sea salt, for color)
- Sugar to taste (optional)
- Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut nori into strips, like confetti. Don’t worry if the pieces are uneven or messy – asymmetry is beautiful.
- In a small bowl, measure out all ingredients and mix together.
- Set in an airtight jar or container for use next to your spices.
You can also play around! There’s an endless amount of furikake varieties, including ones with ingredients such as dried kimchee flakes, dillisk, bonito, powdered wasabi, roasting the entire mix in a soy sauce and sesame oil blend, the list goes on.
Furikake can be thrown on anything – rice, soba noodles, salads, cooked fish, savory pancakes, toast with avocado. I challenge you to try it on everything!