Sea vegetables may be the most important vegetable you can eat. All of the “seaweeds” have varying degrees of A,C,E,K,B’s, and lots of minerals especially Iodine. Seaweed is reported to be a rare, none animal source of B12. They appear a little odd to the American eye, but are very easy to prepare and delicious. I have seen Japanese seaweed salad all over the place, not just in the Japanese restaurants, but also in the sushi section of the supermarket. The only problem with this version of seaweed is that it is often full of artificial colors and artificial sweetener/flavor enhancers. So, what to do about it…I recently had a group of Health Coaches over my house to demonstrate how easy it was to make your own, healthy seaweed salad without these unwanted ingredients.
I got the idea for this recipe from Ming Tsai, but have adapted it to my own tastes using basic concepts from Japanese cuisine. The first concept is the dressing. In this recipe I use a version of seasoned rice vinegar which I make myself from simple ingredients. Then you just add the dressing to either rinsed raw (or fresh) seaweed or reconstituted dry seaweed which is available at the Asian market or even at your local supermarket.
There are so many different varieties to choose from it is hard to know where to start, some of them are: agar agar, wakame, hijiki, arame, dulse, nori, kombu. Each with its own character and flavor. I usually combine a few for my seaweed salad the way you would see it in the restaurant. For this dish I usually use dry agar agar, wakame, and hijiki.
Serves about 4 as a side dish
2 cups of reconstituted seaweed cut as you like them.
2 scallions, sliced very thinly
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp black and/or white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp tamari
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
(optional) sliced or shredded daikon radish, cucumber, cabbage, carrot, anything that pleases you, etc.
Soak the seaweed as directed. Cut the seaweed into shreds or leave whole as you wish. In the meantime assemble the dressing; combine rice vinegar, tamari, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, ginger and scallions in a mixing bowl and stir well. Place the scallions, the well drained seaweed, and the sesame seeds in a bowl, mix with the dressing and let stand for about an hour. Serve and enjoy!