Fantastic Fried Fish in Furikake

I’ve just got back from a wonderful two-month trip overseas to Hawaii. Sunshine, surf and bikinis aside, there is a really interesting food culture to explore over there, with a mix of native Hawaiian, American, Korean, Portuguese and very prominent Japanese influences.  So while we have the classics like deep-fried whole fish and crumbed fish and some more creative techniques like sashimi, gravlax and pancetta on our recipe page, here is a new recipe that I discovered while eating new foods, catching new species of fish and buying new ingredients in Hawaii.  This recipe is really quick, simple and tasty. I hope you like it as much as Roo and I did.

Today’s (Iron Chef) ingredient is Furikake from Japan.

Any recipe involving these two ingredients is always tasty
Any recipe involving these two ingredients is always tasty

Furikake is a dry seasoning mix of seaweed, bonito flakes, salt, sugar, sesame seeds, dried salmon and powdered miso * It is often a little spicy and is commonly added to rice and fish dishes. So without further to do, here is the recipe for Furikake fried fish.

Step 1) Fillet fish – remove the skin if you prefer

Two beautiful fresh fillets
Two beautiful fresh fillets – in this example Bluefin Trevally (AKA Bluefin Jack or ‘Omilu’) caught on the island of Oahu
Barracuda (Kaku) fillets – apparently terrible and / or poisonous to eat?


Step 2) Sprinkle Furikake powder over fillets

Apply more for stronger flavours, or less if you want the fish to speak for itself
Apply more Furikake for stronger flavours, or less if you want the fish to speak for itself


Step 3) Heat a small amount of oil in a non-stick pan and fry 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown

IMG_3334-001 Barracude fillets Furikake
Barracuda fillets served with a fresh garden salad, rice and some veggies stir-fried in soy sauce and ginger
IMG_3272 - Fried Bluefin trevally
Bluefin Trevally with steamed asparagus, brown rice, and stir fried veggies – and don’t forget the lemon or lime!

Trevally isn’t a prized eating fish in Australia. Except for a growing interest in sashimi it is generally only considered to be OK. In Hawaii, there are several species of trevally which live along the reef-lined coasts and they are one of the main targets for land-based recreational anglers (and visitors). So it was very reassuring when those first two or three mouthfuls tasted great. The combination of sweet, salty and fishy flavours in the Furikake lightly permeates the flesh.  For lovers of crumbed fish, the sesame seeds provide some of the same crunch on the outside.

Barracuda is another interesting eating fish. There seems to be a world of conflicting information about their eating qualities, ranging from excellent (flaky white flesh) to terrible (full of bones) to deadly (ciguatera poisoning).  It was these thoughts that were running around my head as a local guy wandered over to see what fish I was holding in my hand – about to be released.  “Nice one brudda, that’s some tasty sh!t” he said. Inspired by his jovial and eloquent words I quickly dispatched the fish and raced up to the car to get it on ice.  I’m so glad I did.  The fish of about 1kg was easy to fillet, had no bones to speak of (once the rib cage was removed) and really delicious.  Neither Roo or I have been admitted to hospital so I guess we survived the deadly toxins too – what a relief! Apparently fish under 2 or 3 kgs don’t have enough toxins to be of any concern, whereas fish 5kgs and over should generally be avoided. Other people swear by the ‘cat test’. If the cat eats it, so do they 🙂

So there you have it, Furikake fried fish. A great option for when you are camping, tired after a long day on the water, or when you feel like a lighter option than beer batters or crumbed fish.  I’ll definitely give some local Trevally a go next time – Furikake style of course.




* Some brands of Furikake also add a teeny weeny bit of MSG, so if that’s not your thing, check the label first. Furikake is typically available in the ‘Asian’ section of the big supermarkets or Asian grocers.

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