As an island nation, Japan not surprisingly harvests much of its food from the sea. One of the main ocean harvests is seaweed. Seaweed is a type of marine algae. Of the 10,000 varieties of seaweed, none are poisonous. Most are edible. Coastal and island nations around the world all harvest seaweed as part of their diets. Japan is the highest consumer with a 2 billion dollar seaweed industry. Seaweed is made into countless products from cosmetics to animal feed, but in Asian countries, it is most prized for its culinary use. Some seaweed types are cultivated exclusively in Japan, China and Korea.
Here are two seaweed dishes. One uses hijiki; the other features wakame. Because of seaweed’s major role in Japanese cuisine, I’ll continue to post many seaweed recipes in the future.
Hijiki Nimono Recipe
This is a typical Japanese simmered dish of carrots, aburage (fried tofu) and hijiki seaweed.
Sweet Onion Wakame Salad Recipe
Take the bitter bite out of raw onions by soaking them in cold water. Sweet onions and wakame seaweed make a delicious salad with a sweet-tart miso dressing.
How to Prepare Konbu
Seaweed is perishable, so it often comes dried in long strips. Here is how to prepare konbu for use in recipes.
If you missed one of my earlier articles about nori, or seaweed sheets, do check it out:
How to Choose High Quality Nori Sheets
There are several grades of nori marketed around the world. Good quality nori sheets will make a difference in the taste of your nori dishes. Here is how to spot better quality nori.
Your Japanese food word of the week: Pirittokuru (pee-reet-toh-koo-roo) Don’t forget to roll your Rs! This means “pungent, biting” like an onion.
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. - Anais Nin
Hope you see goodness everywhere.
Until next time…
BellaOnline.com Japanese Food site editor