Cooking Healthy with Sea Vegetables

How to Select

Look for sea vegetables that are sold in tightly sealed packages. Avoid those that have evidence of excessive moisture. Some types of sea vegetables are sold in different forms. For example, nori can be found in sheets, flakes, or powder. Choose the form of sea vegetable that will best meet your culinary needs. Store sea vegetables in tightly sealed containers at room temperature where they can stay fresh for at least several months.

The following are some of the most popular types:

Nori: dark purple-black color that turns phosphorescent green when toasted, famous for its role in making sushi rolls.

Kelp: light brown to dark green in color, oftentimes available in flake form. This is also sold in powdered form and makes a great seasoning to have on the table.

Hijiki: looks like small strands of black wiry pasta and has a strong flavor. It is great simply soaked and served raw in Asian flavored salads.

Kombu: very dark in color and generally sold in strips or sheets, oftentimes used as a flavoring for soups.

Wakame: green and silky when soaked. It is most commonly used to make Japanese miso soup.

Arame: this lacy, wiry sea vegetable is sweeter and milder in taste than many others. This is not as popular as the others, but it can be integrated in salads as well as hijiki.

Dulse: soft, chewy texture and a reddish-brown color. It is a great addition to soups.

Preparation

Dulce: Dulce can usually be added to your recipe without soaking first. Just rinse quickly under cool running water. Using a rocking motion with your Chef's knife chop to the size desired.

Hijiki: Place hijiki in a small strainer and rinse. Place in bowl of warm water and soak for about 5 minutes. Srain and rinse again. chop to the desired size.

Kombu: Rinse first under running water for a shot time and place in warm water. Kombu usually takes about 10-15 minutes to soften. Chop and add to your recipe.

Wakame: Rinse under cool running wter for a short time and soak in a bowl of warm water. Wakame softens fairly quickly, abut 5-7 minutes. Chop and add to your recipe.

Special Cooking Tips:

The water becomes very nutritious and flavorful from soaking the seaweed and can be used in the recipe you are making. It is preferable to use no more water than can be incorporated into the recipe to gain maximum flavor and nutrition.

How to Cook Healthy:

Hijiki: Hijiki needs no cooking. Just rinse and soak in warm water until soft. rinse again and add to your salad or stir-fry at the end of cooking.

Kombu: Add chopped kombu and simmer for at least 10 minutes before adding the other seaweed to your soup, as it takes longer to cook. Cook for at least 20 minutes.

Wakame: Wakame softens quickly and takes very little time to cook. chop and add to your soup and cook for only 5-10 minutes.

Nori: Nori can usually be bought already toasted. If it is not, toast in a 350 degree oven for about 1-2 minutes, or hold a sheet about 1 inch above the fame of your stove with a pair of tongs for about 2 minutes or until they change color.

Quick Serving Ideas

Hijiki is a wonderful addition to salads. Try it toassed with Chinese cabbage, soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice and olive oil.

Dulse, kombu and wakame are very nutritious additions to soup. Try adding them to a simple miso broth for a very quick, healthy soup.

Keep a container of kelp flakes on the table mixed with garlic powder and white pepper for a nutritious way to season your food.

Following are some dishes from our recipe file that include these wonderful super foods.

Thai Style Snapper with Seaweed
Oriental Chicken Salad
Chinese Cabbage Salad
Cucumber, Seaweed Salad
Miso Soup
Shiitake Mushroom, Seaweed Soup

This page was updated on: 2003-01-18 02:37:42
© 2002 The George Mateljan Foundation