Although a night alone for me often features stinky cheese, this dish also satisfies with its strong flavors—salty, umami, smoky. A nice dab of yuzu kosho (a fiery paste of chile and yuzu zest) adds a bright, spicy kick I can't do without. Enjoy this with a glass of chilled sake. —gluttonforlife
Stir sake into the bonito flakes. Chop into a paste. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, push the bonito flakes around until dry. Add sake, sugar and soy sauce. Stir frequently until mixture is dry again. Combine with sesame seeds and spread on a plate to cool.
Rinse rice until water is clear, then drain. Combine with 1 cup water in a small, heavy saucepan and let stand for 10 minutes. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook 5 minutes (don’t be alarmed if it sputters), or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand again, covered, for 10 minutes.
*Sprinkle nori with a little water and bake on a cookie sheet until crisp, about 15 minutes.
To serve, stir bonito flakes, ume and yuzu kosho (if using) into rice. Plop into a bowl and crumble nori on top.