After my sea vegetables class last week, during which our instructor informed us of the rejuvenating benefits of essentially sitting in a bathtub of miso and seaweed soup (if anyone feels like trying this, please do share!), I felt inspired to do something tasty with the most intense of all the seaweed varieties: hijiki (pronounced hee-JEE-kee). This can be served as a warm or cold salad, and should definitely be paired with something sweet (ie: mango chicken salad?) to counterbalance the tight saltiness of the dish - or, to make this into a balanced main dish, you can toss in some pan-fried tofu cubes and try cooking the hijiki in apple juice rather than water, which yields a lovely sweet-and-savory effect. You can find many varieties of seaweed at the health food store, always dried and vacuum sealed in a plastic bag.
I admit, seaweed sounds kind of scary and gross, but in light of the upcoming new year, now's the time to try something different. (And for the record, I am not condoning bungee jumping or anything like that... just a bit of culinary pluck!)
- 1/2 cup dried hijiki
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 onion, diced small
- 1 carrot, grated or julienned
- water (or apple juice) to cover
- 1/4 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
- 8 ounces tofu, cut into slices and lightly fried (optional)
1. Soak dried hijiki in warm water until it absorbs water and doubles in size, about 30 minutes
2. In a large skillet, saute the onion in very hot oil until lightly browned, then add the carrot and cook about 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
3. Add the rehydrated seaweed to the pan, stirring to coat with onion mixture. Add water or apple juice to cover, then cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and let seaweed simmer in liquid.
4. Keep cooking, covered, until all the liquid is almost absorbed. Then uncover and stir in shoyu and tofu slices, if using. Serve warm or allow to cool and refrigerate for a few hours.