Japanese Style Sesame and Furikake Pumpkin Seeds

28 Oct

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It’s Halloween time, which means the obligatory roasting of the pumpkin seeds after making jack-o-lanterns! I was trying to find some fun ideas for seasoning my pumpkin seeds, and I realized that seasoning these seeds is kind of like seasoning rice. You can dress it up to be sweet, salty, spicy, savory, anything. The rice (or the pumpkin seeds) are a blank slate ready to be whatever funky flavor you want.

My rice / pumpkin seed comparison made the lightbulb go off. Why not season the seeds with furikake?! (This is my favorite seasoning to put on onigiri – Japanese rice balls – you can see my recipe for those here.)

Furikake is the Japanese all purpose topping for foods. It consists mainly of seaweed flakes and sesame seeds, but different mixtures feature different flavors. In a Japanese household this is as common as salt and pepper. It’s used on eggs, pasta, salad, soups, and sushis / rice… anything really. So why not try it on one of my favorite Halloween time treats?

And OMGee did I hit this one out of the park. I don’t think I will ever roast my pumpkin seeds any other way. These have a very classic and traditional Japanese flavor. If you are a fan of miso soup or soba noodles, you’ll love this recipe, since it uses the basic ingredients to make the broth base for those two dishes.

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You Will Need:

Pumpkin Seeds

Sesame Oil

Mirin

Powdered Dashi

Furikake Seasoning

There are no precise measurements here, because each pumpkin will yield different amounts of seeds. So you gotta just eyeball it. SO! Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Next, wash your seeds under cold water, picking out all the pulp and goop and pumpkin entrails.

Put the seeds in a bowl, and lightly drizzle with sesame oil, gently tossing the seeds till they are coated. This will add flavor and ensure your seeds don’t burn.

Repeat the drizzle and toss process with the mirin. Mirin is a Japanese rice wine that is similar to sake, except it has a much lower alcohol content and a much higher sugar content. This will make your seeds kind of gooey and sticky as they heat up, and makes the furikake seasoning stick to the seeds and get lightly crusted on. The more seasoning you intend to crust your seeds with, the more mirin you’ll want to add. I added about equal part sesame oil and mirin to mine.

Next, take a single serving packet of powdered dashi stock (about 1 tablespoon) and sprinkle / toss it on the seeds. Dashi is considered one of the “five basic tastes” of Japanese cuisine and is made up of katsuobushi and kombu – basically powdered bonito fish stock and seaweed.

Next, sprinkle your furikake – as much as you’d like! – on the seeds. I used Urishima brand Traditional Blend Furikake, which is made up of white and black sesame seeds, salt, seaweed, sugar, soy sauce and green tea powder.

Once your seeds are all seasoned and evenly coated, pour them onto a greased baking sheet, and pop them in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, stirring the seeds up every 10 minutes.

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And voila! You have some Japanese-tastic roasted pumpkin seeds! Enjoy! (I’m munching on them now as I post this!) ^_^ Happy Halloween!

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