Gohan no Tomo: First Modern Furikake Rice Seasoning
As you know, plain white rice and miso soup are the staple food of the Japanese, and we like to eat a bowl of rice putting (sprinkling) something salty or savory on top of it.
When it comes to salty topping for steamed plain rice, Umeboshi plums are most common in Japan, and in fact, the salty-sour Ume plums go perfectly with plain white rice.
Meanwhile, as for the savory food for plain white rice, “Furikake (ふりかけ)” is the most-consumed. Furikake consists of various kinds of dry mini flakes made from meat, fish, seafood, seaweed, and eggs, and is usually used to season plain rice.
How to use it? It is very simple; after putting hot plain rice into a bowl, just sprinkle the Furikake flakes over it.
It is said that the origin of Furikake dates back to the Kamakura period (Kamakura: 1185 to 1333), and people at that time ate plain rice with dried bonito shavings or dry bits of salted fish meat, like sea bream, salmon, or shark.
Futaba Gohan no Tomo Furikake
During modern times, Furikake products were invented by several Japanese companies, and the product “Gohan no Tomo (御飯の友)” is considered the first modern Furikake.
In the early Taisho period (Taisho: 1912 to 1926), the first Furikake product Gohan no Tomo was created and sold in Kumamoto Prefecture.
Actually, the first modern Furikake, Gohan no Tomo still exists and is being sold online and at some supermarkets. So the other day, I purchased the Furikake from Amazon Japan and tried it with a hot bowl of rice for the first time.
In the Taisho period when Gohan no Tomo was released, many Japanese people were short of calcium intake, so in order to make up for the deficit, fishbone powder was adopted as the main ingredient of the Furikake Gohan no Tomo.
For that reason, the main ingredient in this Furikake is “Iriko (いりこ)” or parched dried small sardine, and the other ingredients include white sesame seeds, soy sauce, sugar, salt, Nori seaweed, fermented seasoning, green laver, milk sugar, starch, powdered egg yolk, and shredded Kombu seaweed.
Recent Furikake rice seasonings rarely contain Iriko or parched dried sardine, but this old-fashioned Gohan no Tomo Furikake is very savory and really delicious. It isn’t sweet, but has a moderate saltiness and is especially characterized by the appetizing aroma of parched sardine.
Where to Buy
As I mentioned above, the Gohan no Tomo Furikake from Futaba can be bought on some online shopping sites in and outside of Japan.