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Japanese Healthy Sprinkles

Three Chefs Shake It Up with Traditional Japanese Spices
by Masaharu Morimoto, Troy N. Thompson and Roy Yamaguchi

Japanese Healthy Sprinkles: Three Chefs Shake It Up with Traditional Japanese Spices

It started innocently as a way to introduce much-needed calcium into the Japanese diet.  In the early 20th century, pharmacist Suekichi Yoshimaru decided to dry fish—bones and all—and then grind them into a fine powder. Mixing it with spices, seaweed and seeds for flavor, Yoshimaru created what is now known as furikake, meaning "shake" or "sprinkle" in Japanese.

This unique condiment is the focus of Japanese Healthy Sprinkles, a new cookbook that (by no coincidence) happens to be published by Yutaka Mishima, president of Mishima Foods Inc., a major producer of furikake. Culling recipes from three well-respected chefs—Masaharu Morimoto of Morimoto, Roy Yamaguchi of Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine and Troy N. Thompson formerly of jer-ne restaurant + bar—furikake takes its place in almost every dish. The versatile seasoning is sprinkled on everything from traditional Japanese dishes, such as Morimoto's Marinated Maguro Furikake Ochazuke (tuna in an earthenware pot), to traditional Hawaiian dishes, such as Yamaguchi's Dynamite Crusted Opakapaka Oscar.  Thompson offers creative Asian-inspired interpretations, like Wasabi Grits with a Miso Sweet Potato. 

Since the book is a compilation of dishes rather than a cohesive cookbook, there are several inconsistencies in the recipes that can be frustrating, such as the use of both metric (grams and ccs) and imperial units (ounces and teaspoons), as well as a few spelling errors. Despite the discrepancies, the book does feature some very creative offerings, all of which elevate the inconspicuous furikake into a gourmet ingredient.


Modern Kobe Beef Tar Tar with Fried Egg

Serves 4

6 ounces trimmed American Kobe beef tenderloin
1 ounce red onion, minced
1 ounce cornichon pickles, minced
1 ounce parsley, chopped
1 ounce capers, chopped
1 ounce dijon mustard
1 ounce ketchup
1 ounce extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce furkake of your choice
To taste—Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper
1 large organic egg

1 medium mixing bowl (chilled)
household meat grinder

Grind the beef with the meat grinder. (Your butcher can do this for you.)

Add each ingredient to taste to the meat.

Cook the egg sunny side up.

Serve the tar tar on a chilled dish and place the egg on top.

Reviewed by Sophie Gayot

(Updated: 12/02/08 SB)

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