So I've been learning about the different ways sea vegetables are used in cooking, particularly in Asian cuisines(although that is certainly not the only area in the world where sea vegetables are eaten), and I wanted to share some of what I've learned with you.
I cook with several different types of seaweed, so let's start with taking a look at them.
First up in kombu, a type of kelp used in Japanese cuisine.
Kombu is one of the main ingredients in the Japanese soup stock called dashi. Kombu is sold in a variety of forms, including the dried stuff below:
Next up is one of my favorites, hijiki:
Hijiki grows wild in Japan, Korea, and China, and for some reason many of the recipes I've seen that use it also include carrots. These recipes are delicious, though, so I'm not going to worry too much about that for now.
The last on my list is wakame:
Wakame is, according to Wikipedia, an invasive species, who knew? It is farmed in Japan and Korea, and sometime later this week I will have a recipe using it, including fresh ginger, tofu, and ramen noodles (there is more to ramen that surviving on a grad student's budget!).
It's important to note that all of these sea vegetables I use I purchase in their dried form and re-hydrate. Some of them, especially the wakame, really bulk up when you re-hydrate, so pay attention when I give you measurements! Sea vegetables are delicious and healthy, and I'm excited to share my recipes with you.
Oh, what the hey, let's start with an easy one, for kombu dashi. This is a vegetarian version of dashi, and really, all you do is lop off a chunk of kombu, and soak it in a quart of water overnight.
We'll use this dashi tomorrow in our ramen dish, so you'd better get moving on that if you want a delicious soup tomorrow!