Furikake is the life of this Sweet and Salty Hawaiian Chex Party Mix


THERE ARE NO LESS THAN 19 flavors of packaged Chex mix currently available, and I have made variations of the 1952 savory classic and the peanut butter and chocolate riff known as Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies for most of my life, but still snacking can be novel. Thanks to friends at Beacon Hill who shared a bag of a recipe new to me during the otherwise boring vacation of 2020, my snack heart now belongs to an extra-crisp, sweet-salty, and utterly Hawaiian Chex mix. perfect.

Like other homemade party mixes, making it is a straightforward process. This version starts with a soy butter and caramel coating of a combination of cereals, crisps and crackers, and ends with one of the simplest furikake mixes: a table seasoning that combines seaweed and sesame seeds. Usually used on rice, it balances caramel with abundant umami.

One of the shortest recipes I’ve found for this can be found in “The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook” by Pat Tanumihardja (Sasquatch, 2009). A mixture of butter, oil, sugar, corn syrup and soy sauce is used to coat a single box of rice cereal, then seasoned so generously with furikake that the snack is evenly dark green nori.

In Uwajimaya, furikake brands and flavors take up most of a berry, even when supply chain issues have reduced options. In addition to sesame seeds and seaweed, some include bonito, shrimp, salmon, egg, wasabi, or shiso. If any of these is your ride-or-die flavor, try it here; if not, start with the basic nori goma or aji nori, variously labeled, with black and white sesame seeds and at least one type of seaweed.

Your grocery store may only have one furikake, in the Asian food aisle or near the spices; any brand is good. If you have options, Tanumihardja recommends avoiding MSG. “When I was little, my mom had a container of MSG right next to the salt and sugar in the kitchen,” she says. “I try to buy foods without MSG because… I try to stay away from additives and preservatives, and I don’t really find a difference in taste with the addition of MSG. I was buying Nori Komi, but they changed wording a few years ago. Now I buy either Mishima (contains hydrolyzed soy protein) or Trader Joe’s (no additives).

My choice is a local brand available near me. Packaged by Ballard-based Stocked, the Everything on Everything furikake is sold at Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max (samchoyspoke.com). The additives include hydrolyzed vegetable protein, yeast extract, and I + G (an industry abbreviation for two forms of disodium that work together much like MSG), but they don’t bother me, as they are of crisps and cereals.

As with all party mixes, make substitutions for your heart’s content. Hate Goldfish Crackers? Swap peanuts or bagel chips. Avoid gluten? Keep the Chex, but replace the Honeycomb, Bugles, and Goldfish with equivalent weights of snacks such as Glutino pretzels and Fritos, and use gluten-free tamari. If corn syrup makes you wince, go for Lyle’s Golden Syrup. Lean into the umami using up to twice the suggested amount of furikake.

Hawaiian Chex Mix
If you don’t have a large roasting pan, you can use two baking sheets, but be prepared for things to fly away as you stir.

½ can (6 ounces) Rice Chex
½ can (6 ounces) Chex corn
½ can (6.25 ounces) of Honeycomb cereal
1 bag (7.5 ounces) Bugles Corn Chips
1 bag (6.6 ounces) Goldfish Cheddar Crackers
1 bag (8 ounces) Goldfish cracker pretzels
1 stick (4 ounces) of butter
½ cup of vegetable oil
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
½ cup of furikake (or to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 275 ° F. In a 16-inch deep roasting pan, layer Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Honeycomb, Bugles, Goldfish Cheddar and Goldfish Pretzel on top of each other. Put aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, oil, corn syrup, sugar and soy sauce. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved.
3. Slowly pour the syrup mixture over the dry ingredients, stirring gently with a wide spatula to coat each piece evenly, with minimal breakage. Once the mixture is well coated, sprinkle with furikake. Try to put at least a little on each piece of cereal, but it’s good if some pieces have a thicker layer.
4. Bake for 1 hour, stirring gently every 15 minutes. The coating will lose its grip and become a tight, crisp layer. Remove from oven and stir occasionally while it cools. Once cooled completely, store it in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


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