Bits of sea herbs, toasted sesame, and smoky flaked fish make a delightful and nutritious seasoning mixture for plain boiled rice—frugal, too, since it makes use of leftovers from stock making.
1tablespoonwhite sesame seeds
⅓-½cup leftover katsuo bushi (dried bonito flakes; see note)
1teaspoonsoy sauce, optional
1teaspoonmirin (syrupy rice wine), optional
1-2teaspoonsao nori (sea herb flakes)
Place the sesame seeds in a clean dry skillet and dry-roast them over medium-high heat for about 1 minute, or until just turning a golden brown. Shake the pan as you roast to ensure even coloration. Set the seeds aside in a small bowl.
Fish flakes that are left over from making seasoned stocks and sauces will need no further seasoning—just place the fish flakes in a large skillet with a non-stick surface. However, if your fish flakes are left over from making Basic Sea Stock, you will need to season them with the soy sauce and syrupy rice wine.
Over very low heat so as not to scorch the food, cook the fish flakes until they are dry. Stir constantly to separate any lumps or clumps. It could take as long as 10-15 minutes to accomplish this. Transfer the fish flakes to the bowl with the sesame seeds.
Add the sea herb flakes to the skillet, and gently shake over low heat for less than 1 minute; a wonderful sea aroma will be evident. Transfer the flakes to the bowl with the sesame and fish flakes.
Stir the mixture of sesame, fish flakes, and sea herbs. Store it in an airtight container away from light, heat, and moisture until ready to use. It will keep fresh for 4-5 days on the shelf in cool weather, up to a month refrigerated. If you refrigerate the mixture, you may want to dry-roast it in a clean, dry non-stick skillet for a few seconds just before using it.