Although superfoods such as seaweed and algae are fairly new to the standard western diet, sea vegetables have formed an important part of the Japanese, Korean and Chinese diet for centuries with seaweed on the daily menu for many.
Seaweed may be an acquired taste for some, but the following suggestions of how to include seaweed in your diet should be fairly easy to manage.
10 ways to add Seaweed to your diet:
1) Make some sushi rolls and wrap with nori. Be creative – almost anything goes e.g. wrap chicken, prawns, vegetables, salad and raw fish (of course)
2) Make a Seaweed salad with any type of soaked seaweed (e.g. using cucumber, wakame, rice vinegar adding a bit of sugar and salt)
3) Add seaweed to your favorite fish, chicken or vegetable soups
4) Make a miso soup
5) Sprinkle dry seaweed on a salad
6) Cut up nori into small pieces and sprinke onto rice adding sesame oil and sesame seeds.
7) Sprinkle nori onto noodles
8) Add dried seaweed to rice crackers
9) Make some rice balls
10) Add spirulina or Chlorella powder to Smoothies, salads and dips
Types of Seaweed
The most common types of seaweeds in Japan are Wakame, Nori and Kombu.
Nori (porphyra species) is commonly used as a wrap in many sushi dishes and onigiri (rice balls), as well as noodle and soup flavorings. Nori are thin toasted (yaki nori) / or untoasted sheets which are easy to cook with. They also come as flavored versions (ajitsuke) often mixed with sea salt, soy sauce & spices which work well as a snack or sprinkled onto a rice dish.
Kombu (laminaria species) also known as Kelp is used extensively in Japanese cooking in the preparation of fish and meat, soups and as vegetables with rice.
It is commonly used in nabe (Japanese hotpot) and to make soup stock (dashi). Kombu is sold in various forms such as dried, shredded, fresh or pickled in vinegar.
Wakame (undaria pinnatifida) is often used in Japanese side dishes such as miso soup and sunomono salads (Japanese vinegared foods).
It has a sweet flavour and is usually sold in a dry form which needs to be soaked in water before use.
Other Seaweed & Algae Superfoods include dulse, arame, wild blue-green algae, spirulina and chlorella.
Dulse: Dulse is a red seaweed which can be directly added to salads or used as seasonings in soups or on vegetables. There is no need for cooking, and it comes in flakes.
Arame: a brown seaweed which needs to be soaked in hot water for approximately 5 mins prior to using.
Wild blue-green algae /Spirulina /Chlorella: These highly nutritious algae comes in powdered versions, and can easily be taken directly with a glass of water. You can also blend it in with smoothies, add it to salads or sprinkle it onto rice cakes. They are also available in capsule and tablet forms if you prefer that option.
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