Homemade furikake no. 9: Green tea

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We used to have a neighbor lady in Japan who came from Shizuoka, a major tea growing region. She used to say that at her parents’ house they used to eat tea leaves sprinkled with salt as a snack. At the time, the cynical kid that was me thought that sounded disgusting! But then I was recently surfing around some Japanese sites and stumbled upon the home page of a tea producer, who mentioned the same thing. They also said that they enjoyed tea as furikake.

The site didn’t have a recipe, but they mentioned putting in chirimenjako (tiny salted fish, which I used in the hijiki seaweed furikake) and sakuraebi (tiny dried shrimp), used in Furikake no. 1, radish leaves.) Both are dried or semi-dried products that are packed with umami, and are also high in calcium. You can get them at any Japanese grocery store, and very similar products are available at general Asian or Chinese stores too. In case you can’t get a hold of them though, I’ve given some variations below, including a vegan one.

The tea furikake definitely has the taste and fragrance of tea (with a hint of bitterness), enhanced by the umami of the other ingredients. It’s really very pleasant. Tea furikake is not available commercially as far as I know (at least not outside of Japan). And if drinking the extract of tea leaves is so healthy, surely eating tea leaves has to be as good, if not better!

Recipe: Green tea furikake with chirimenjako and sakuraebi

  • 1/3 cup (about 75 ml) fine green tea leaves (the better the quality of the tea, the more fragrant it will be)
  • 2 Tbs. chirimenjako
  • 2 Tbs. sakuraebi
  • 1 1/2 tsp. good tasting sea salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. sesame seeds (optional)

Heat up a non-stick frying pan. Add the water, salt, chirimenjako and sakuraebi, and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Add the tea leaves. Over a low heat, keep stirring until moisture has completely evaporated, and the tea leaves are crispy (but not burnt!) It takes a little patience, but don’t try to hurry things up by increasing the heat, or the tea leaves will burn and lose their fragrance. If salt gets stuck to the pan, scrape it off gently. Add the sesame seeds at the end and stir around to toast them.

Let cool completely and store in an airtight container. (If your tea leaves are a bit coarse, or you want a finer powder, whirl it in the food processor briefly.)

Variations

  • For a simple vegan tea furikake, just use the best quality sea salt you have and omit the tiny fish and shrimp. You’ll have the pure taste of tea and salt, plus sesame seeds if you add them. You can also try adding yeast flakes if you like the flavor, for added nutrition - about 1 Tbs. near the end of the cooking process. (You may need to experiment with the amount, so that the yeast doesn’t overwhelm the tea.)
  • You can use a handful of katsuobushi (bonito flakes) instead of the tiny fish and shrimp, or instead of one or the other. In this case, cook the tea leaves, salt and water on their own until the tea leaves are crispy, then add the bonito flakes at the end and stir it through.

Cooking with green tea furikake

If you cook the tea furikake with rice, it turns into tea takikomi gohan (rice that’s cooked with various ingredients added). Add 1 tablespoon of furikake per 1 rice cooker cup of rice to the rice cooker with the water and washed rice. (if you’re making your rice in a pot, allow for about 1 1/4 tablespoons per 220ml cup of rice.)

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The rice is wonderfully fragrant. For a double dose of tea, top the tea takikomi gohan with more tea furikake!

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11 comments

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I think I shall have to try

I think I shall have to try this one! How long would you say this keeps for?

Green tea question

I have some really good genmai cha, I would like to try it with that (the vegan version) Do you think it would work with the brown rice in it?

ocha furikake

clover, it should keep in an airtight container for a few weeks, provided it’s completely dry, though the tea fragrance may fade a bit.

luci, the rice grains in the genmaicha may be a bit crunchy but it should work otherwise! (and if you cook it into rice, it should be fine).

tiny fish

I stumbled upon your blog and Just Hungry a couple of days ago and have already found a lot of interesting recipes to try out.

This one in particular reminded me of about 20 years ago, when my father had to go to Japan on business and one of the things he brought back were those tiny dried fish. We would eat them as snacks just like chips and I remember gleefully grossing out schoolmates, that came to visit, with them.

So thanks for reminding me of this and also for a lot of tasty cooking ideas.

I made it

with the genmai cha. Turned out really good. My tea had large leaves, so I chopped it finer in the food processor for just a sec when I was done. The brown rice in the tea came out delicious! The rice ended up working as a substitute for the sesame seed taste, so I didn’t add the sesame seeds. I didn’t dry mine on the stove. After I dissolved the water and salt and mixed in the tea I spread it all on a cookie sheet and put it in a low oven (don’t know exactly how long, it was quite a while..stirring occasionally)

Correction...

“And if drinking the extract of tea leaves is so healthy, surely eating tea leaves has to be as good, if not better!”

Wrong. Extract is always more potent than standard, or concentrated mixtures or just plain leaves. Walk into any GNC and you’ll see different levels of potency for herbs. For example, you can create a very potent extract that you can drink a 8oz cup of tea VS having to eat 100 raw leaves for the same effect. When it’s raw and unprocessed, you also have to ingest the plant fibers (that do nothing for your body) which dilute the active, healthful elements found in green tea.

Re: Homemade furikake no. 9: Green tea

They sell green tea furikake from Japan Centre! http://www.japancentre.com/?cmd=itm&cid=&id=2645

Re: Homemade furikake no. 9: Green tea

This sounds really good. Something I tried once was after drinking oolong tea (whole leaf tea, this one had gorgeous huge leaves that unfolded in my tea pot) I couldn't bear the thought of throwing out those gorgeous tasty leaves so I wrapped them around some boneless skinless chicken breasts with some salt and baked them. The tea leaves sort of smoked thier flavor through out the chicken and oh my....it was delicious. Made good chicken salad with the leftover chicken too!

Re: Homemade furikake no. 9: Green tea

Has anyone tried making this with matcha powder? I found an unopened can in the back of a drawer that I bought to make matcha shortbread cookies I saw on Martha Stewart eons ago.

Re: Homemade furikake no. 9: Green tea

Dear Maki,

I just found your website (I know, am a slow one) after 1 year living in Europe, and found that Japanese resto are just too expensive for my weekly treat. Besides, at the moment I have lots of time to cook, so I like to experiment new recipes.

Glad to find this website, and thanks a lot for the tips & recipe. Guess my husband will be a more fanatic fans of my cooking after I follow your cooking! ^_+

Re: Homemade furikake no. 9: Green tea

First off Thank you Maki!!!!
I am 22, and have been on this site since I got married 3 years ago. Was awesome making my husbands co workers jealous and later teaching the wives how to make Bento, they are much older than I am and without your *clear* and *Pretty* instructions I would have always been the odd wife out. Now as a mother/student to an 18 month old that adores pretty things its really become a life saver. He and I are allergic to most meat plus any fruit even remotly latexy (bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers,strawberries etc) so to help my guilt of losing so much yummy stuff I fell into making pretty things and have revisited your blog many times since he began solid food:D

Reason for the comment : I didn't see it answered above, so I'd like to ask as well, would Matcha powder work? I'd do it on my own and not bother you, but it was very expensive (as in, I also had to go to another state to even get it plus the actual price) so I don't want to waste.

Thank you!

PS I've shared your site since, and am hoping to get your book soon :)

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