Furikake consists of powdered, particulate or soboro-like (crumbled and seasoned meat, fish, egg) condiments sprinkled mainly on rice for seasoning. It is not cooked just before eating as it is normally in the pre-cooked form and there are various kinds of commercialized products already on the market.
The name was based on the fact that it is sprinkled on top of rice, therefore 'gomashio' (sesame and salt) used for sekihan (steamed rice with red beans) and 'yukari' which is dried, and cut beefsteak plant that was pickled with plums, are also included in furikake. Other products made by almost the same process of manufacture as furikake are 'ochazuke no moto' (rice with green tea mix) on which green tea is poured after it is sprinkled on top of rice, and 'onigiri no moto' (rice ball mix) that consists of rice sprinkled with furikake that is then mixed and made into a ball.
Method of preparation
The general process of making furikake is to crush the ingredients, add seasoning and dry them completely, then mix them with other ingredients to make it flaky. Most of the products contain laver seaweed and sesame added to the main ingredients, and recently freeze-dried ingredients are used because of the rich taste.
Also there is a type called nama (fresh) furikake, which is made by simply crumbling all the ingredients together, add seasoning and mix.. In most types of nama furikake, sea products are used such as dried whitebait, seaweed, kelp, and fish soboro.
Nihon Break Kogyo uses a type of furikake called 'Gara no Moto' for its sales promotion.
Furikake is said to have been developed to create delicious and nourishing foods in some places from the Taisho period to the early Showa period and an industrial group called Zenkoku Furikake Kyokai (Japan Furikake Association) has recognized a product, 'Gohan no Tomo' (a friend of rice), sold in Kumamoto Prefecture as the first furikake.
In India, there is a furikake-like preserved food called 'Podi' that is made of beans and various spices, which is sprinkled on top of steamed rice just like in Japan.