How to use Seaweeds in Cuisine

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Although sea vegetables have long been a staple in Asian cuisines and consumed for hundreds of years they are relatively new to the West. Traditionally used as medical and dietary treatments, they are a great source of proteins, vitamins and minerals, not to talk about their numerous culinary properties

There are many varieties of seaweed. Each one of them have different textures and flavors,  and require  different treatments in the kitchen. They are commonly sold dried, canned, or preserved in salt.

They usually have high contents in iodine and sodium so they are not recommended for hypertensive patients or those who suffer from hyperthyroidism.

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SEA SPAGHETTI

  • Given the name for its elongated narrow stems, this variety is rich in nutrients like fiber and iron.    
  • In cuisine it is used raw mixed into salads or garnishing different dishes, cooked along with other vegetables, blend into fish stews or battered fried in oil.

DULSE 

  • Recognized by its stringy reddish leaves. It is an excellent source of potassium and proteins, and has a mild taste and aroma.   
  • Ideal to eat raw, or cooked in soups, giving a gelatin- like texture to the food it is mixed with.

KOMBU 

  • Also called giant kelp. It has large brownish leaves and a fleshy texture, and it is s rich in magnesium and calcium.   
  • It is the base of Japanese dashi soups. When added to legumes or vegetables, it not only adds flavor but has a softening property due to its high glutamic acid composition, making them mor.

NORI 

  • Nori is possibly the most widely consumed seaweed variety. Small, rough and dark green in color, it is rich in vitamins A, B12 and proteins, and has an intense flavor.  
  • It is commonly used as a wrap for sushi once dried, ground and pressed into sheets.   
  • It may be eaten raw, cooked or steamed, sautéed in a frying pan or roasted.

WAKAME  

  • It is closest to our culture for being very similar to the vegetables we consume. It is a mild flavored seaweed with a nice green color. Among other minerals it is a good source of potassium, calcium and sodium, and provides a mild sweet flavor to foods.   
  • Their tender leaves makes them ideal for salads, rice dishes and soups.

AGAR-AGAR 

  • Agar-agar is a red jelly-like type of seaweed. It is very flexible and resistant despite its tangled ramifications. It has a mild flavor and is rich in minerals.   
  • It is the main ingredient of a gelling agent of neutral taste and color, marketed with the same name.   
  • Dissolves quickly when boiled in water. Unlike other gelatin products that only solidify when they are cold, the agar- agar has the unique property of retaining its firmness even when subjected to higher temperatures.

COCHAYUYO 

  • “Cochayuyo” is a variety of seaweed found in abundance in sub-Antarctic zones (Chile).It is recognized by its peculiar brown strips which can be as long as 15 meters. It has a fleshy firm elastic texture and an intensely salty marine aroma. Rich in nutrients like iodine and sodium. 

 ARAME

  • Arame is very sweet in taste. High in natural sugars, it is a good source of iodine and calcium.
  • Cooked slightly, it can be served as a salad, by itself as a side dish of vegetables, or mixed in with pasta.

IZIKI

  • Iziki, a strong, rich flavored type of seaweed, is one of the richest in minerals. To use in cuisine, leave to soak for 15 minutes, discard water, then cook in fresh water for 15 more minutes. Once cooked, sauté in a frying pan along with other ingredients.

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