Gomasio is a condiment comprised of toasted sesame seeds and salt. Furikake means “to sprinkle” in Japanese and refers to condiments like gomasio, usually including seaweeds. Here, we’ve got variation on a classic theme. After a suggestion by Michael Tierra, I added some secret herbal liver-boosting magic: milk thistle seeds.
Milk thistle is well-known as a wonder herb for all ailments of the liver. It is safe for general use as a basic liver tonic, though it is specifically indicated in cases of hepatitis, jaundice, cirrhosis and liver congestion. It helps regenerate the liver and even reduces fat deposits on the organ. If you do anything that may be considered taxing to the liver–live in a polluted environment, eat processed, fried or fatty foods, drink alcohol, etc–then milk thistle is a good, safe herb to know.
On top of that, milk thistle grows practically everywhere. If you are a die-hard, you could probably don some heavy-duty gloves and go harvest some for yourself. Me? Nettle is one thing (read about my nettle noodles here), but milk thistle? Ouch.
This version of Furikake is an enjoyable way to boost liver function. My Ayurveda teacher, Dharmanidhi, used to say, “Your liver is you.” Which is funny, come to think of it, because my TCM teacher used to say, “Your spine is you.” I can see both perspectives and when I can connect to reverence for my liver and spine, it is easy to eat fresh and homecooked and then treat myself to the delicious but difficult discipline of a good yoga session or workout.
Do something nice for your liver on a daily basis. The liver likes bitter. Drop bitter watercress into your soup. Hide a pinch of turmeric in your meal or chai. Simply eat yummy bitter greens regularly. But, I like to make this Gomasio Furikake recipe because it is always around to liven up a less-than inspiring meal while reminding me to think about the wellbeing of my largest internal organ.
This liver-supporting version of Furikake has as many uses as you have imagination for it: a topping for rice, baked on fish with a layer or miso paste, or popcorn.
My favorite: top a batch of homemade fresh french fries. How’s that for taking care of the liver? Ha!
Milk Thistle & Sesame Gomasio Furikake
.5 oz wild nori (or seaweed of your choice)
1 1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup milk thistle seeds
1/4 cup salt
Preheat the oven to 300 and arrange nori flat on a cookie sheet. Cook until it looks toasty, about 10-15 minutes or when it looks done to you. Pulse in a spice grinder.
While nori cooks, dry-roast sesame seeds in a skillet over medium-high heat, turning frequently. They are ready when they are fragrant and slightly darkened. Allow to cool.
Pulse milk thistle seeds in grinder until very small. The outer portion of the seed is rather course must be broken down. The medicinal component of the herb is not usable by the body unless is is ground well, otherwise the body sees it as just roughage.
Combine toasted, ground seaweed, toasted sesame and ground milk thistle with salt in a medium bowl. Take care when filling spice jars that the salt is heaviest ingredient and tends to fall to the bottom while seaweed rises to the top.
Store in jars with tight-fitting lids and consume within a month or two for best results. Unless you are putting a shaker on the table that will be eaten quickly, store in a cool, dark place as all seeds and oils tend to become rancid in extended storage.