The crunchy-salty-sweet snack you need — furikake Chex mix
Sweet, salty, savory, crunchy, addictive furikake Chex mix — “you can’t stop eating it,” says food stylist Caroline Hwang. This version of the Hawaiian snack — buttery and tossed with umami-loaded seaweed and sesame seeds — is adapted from her recipe, which was passed to her from a longtime friend in New York, Corey Chow, former chef de cuisine at Thomas Keller’s Per Se.
Chow, now executive chef at Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conn., says it’s his mom’s recipe — he grew up eating the classic snack after basketball practice in San Gabriel. And Tina Chow, his mom, got it from a Japanese American neighbor. Each time it’s handed off, it gets tweaked. Because furikake Chex mix is highly adaptable to suit a matrix of tastes. (See also Genevieve Ko’s version.)
But there are a few key factors to Tina Chow’s tweaks, which remain intact in the recipe below: She increased the amount of furikake seasoning and soy sauce by a lot and added a little more light corn syrup (Hwang and this version call for brown syrup instead). “I baked it longer to give it more crunch,” she said. With the added syrup, “it would be really crunchy and dark and just right and more furikake would stick to the cereal.”
Hwang replaced some of the cereal with the Korean snack Orion-brand Turtle Chips, a crispy, airy, four-layer corn chip available at many Asian markets (Bugles are a good substitute; you could use potato chips). She also replaces some of the cereal with pretzel sticks. In The Times test kitchen we added pecans — and they turned out almost furikake-candied.
The result is an especially crunchy, intensely flavored mix that is the ultimate in snacking. “It’s actually a great snack for beer,” Corey Chow said.
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Furikake Chex Mix
Heat oven to 250. Line a large roasting pan with foil or parchment paper.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter, oil, brown rice syrup or Karo, sugar and soy sauce to a boil, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and maintain a light simmer until fully combined, smooth and syrupy.
Pour the dry cereal, Turtles and pecans (if using) into the prepared roasting pan, and pour the hot liquid over the cereal. Use a wooden spoon to carefully mix thoroughly. Add the furikake and stir again to distribute evenly throughout. Bake for 60 minutes, stirring at 20 minute intervals. With the final stirring, at the 40 minute mark, increase the oven temperature to 275. Be sure to stir the Chex Mix thoroughly.
When done, immediately pour the mixture into a large bowl and stir. Set aside to cool. When cool, stir and separate the cereal so it won’t clump together. Store in an airtight container or a zip top bag.
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