Traditionally Japanese use these dark-brown hijiki, an edible seaweed for this dish. Hijiki are harvested at low tide and only grows wild along the coastlines of Japan. I have recreated this traditional Japanese recipe with the marinade from a hijiki salad with these locally produced sugar kelp from the West Coast of Sweden. The best way to serve them, in my opinion, is to top on a bowl of steamed Japanese rice, with a sprinkle of togarashi (Japanese seven spice chili pepper), or if you are up for it, mix them in your onigiri (Japanese rice ball).
Store extra salad in an airtight jar for up to 1 week in the fridge. Texture of the vegetables might change if you prefer to make a bigger batch and freeze for later. It can be freeze to up to one month. Simply defrost the frozen seaweed in the fridge the night before serving.
Makes about 1.5 cup
1 cup Fresh sugar kelp from Nordic Seafarm, roughly cut them into bite size
Half a medium carrot, peeled and matchsticks
1 piece of dried tofu stick (optional)
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
¼ cup mirin
¼ cup Japanese soy sauce, such as Kikkoman all purpose soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp instant dashi granules
Vegetable oil for cooking
Break up dried tofu stick into a short matchstick size and soak in boiling water until soften, about 1 hour. Drain and set side.
Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup of boiling water until soften, depending on the size of the mushrooms, about 1 hour, reserve mushroom soaking liquid. Remove mushrooms stems with scissors, slice the cap, and set aside.
In a small microwave-proof bowl, mix mirin, soy sauce and sugar. Microwave the mixture on medium for 1 minute to dissolve sugar. Set aside.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a small saucepan on medium high. Sauté carrot, mushroom slices and tofu sticks until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add sugar kelp, stir to combine.
Stir soy marinade to make sure that sugar is dissolved and mix into the kelp vegetables in the pan, Add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid and dashi granules. Stir mixture in the saucepan gently, turn heat down to medium low, stir occasionally. Let the vegetables simmer in their marinade until the liquid is reduced, about 30 minutes. Check from time to time and make sure that about 2cm of marinade liquid should remain in the pan. If there are too much liquid remain, simmer further or slightly turn the heat up to reduce cooking time. The total cooking time should not more than 1 hour. When it’s ready, remove from heat and transfer sugar kelp salad into a clean, sterilized jar. Serve at room temperature. Or if you wish to consume later, let cool completely inside the jar before transferring to the fridge.
Serve braised kelp salad at room temperature or cold from the fridge as a condiment along with steamed rice or mix into onigiri.
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