Seven Seaweeds To Try
Soaked arame looks like brown shoelaces and has a mild, almost sweet flavour. Add it to edamame beans, or stir-fried Japanese soba noodles with shiitake mushrooms.
This purple-red seaweed is easy to find on the East Coast. Nova Scotians snack on it dry from the bag, or buy it in flakes to sprinkle on soups. Pan-fried until crisp, dulse has a bacon-like flavour. BonAppetit.com suggests slapping it between two slices of bread with lettuce, tomato and mayo to make a “DLT.”
If you have sipped miso soup, you have probably tried this rubbery seaweed. Julie Drucker of Yemaya Seaweed Co. recommends serving soaked and sliced wakame with a dressing of garlic, ginger, honey, sesame seed oil and tamari.
Named for its palm-like fronds, this mild, almost nutty-tasting kelp grows only on wave-washed rocks on the West Coast of North America. For a light salty snack, coat it with olive oil and garlic and bake in a medium oven for 10 minutes until crunchy.
A natural source of umami, the “fifth taste” in Asian cuisine, kombu is the main ingredient in Japanese dashi soup. The Okinawans of centenarian fame eat more kombu per household than anywhere else in the world (mainly in dashi soup). Powdered kombu is a natural substitute for the artificial flavour enhancer MSG (monosodium glutamate).
The papery wrapping for sushi rolls is never soaked before serving. Eat it toasted, or wrap a nori sheet around a ball of rice stuffed with salmon-mayo filling to make DIY onigiri – the on-the-go snack sold in Japanese convenience stores.
This red Atlantic seaweed resembles curly lettuce and adds colour and flavour to salads. A staple during the Irish famine of 1845 to 1852, it was traditionally used as a thickener for soups and puddings.
Irish moss is the source for carrageenan gum, a food additive associated with digestive problems, but the unprocessed seaweed is considered nutritious and not known to cause gut issues.
Bonus Seaweed Recipe
Wakame seaweed salad with miso dressing
A wonderfully unique Asian salad of seaweed and wild mushrooms topped with a miso dressing. Perfect if you are feeling a little adventurous!
- 50g/1¾oz dried wakame seaweed, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes, then drained and rinsed
- 20g/¾oz dried wood ear mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, then drained, rinsed and finely shredded
- ½ Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
- 1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
- One small handful of coriander roots, thinly sliced
- 1 handful of coriander leaves, to garnish
For the dressing
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- ½ tsp red miso paste
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- pinch sea salt
- pinch soft brown sugar