Japanese super food: Sea vegetables

Sea vegetables are another name for seaweeds. :-) They have been the staple food for Japanese people and are commonly used to make Japanese salads. They are also added to soups, stews and other dishes.

The broadest range of minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and iodine as well as vitamin C, fiber, beta-carotene, and pantothenic acid and riboflavin — two B-vitamins needed for your body to produce energy are found in sea vegetables.

Here are some of the popular sea vegetables used in Japanese cuisine:

Konbu

Kombu is used as one of the three main ingredients needed to make a soup stock. Dried konbu is called dashi kombu, the pickled konbu in vinegar is called su kombu, the dried shredded konbu is called oboro kombu. It may also be eaten fresh as sashimi.

↓ Onigiri (riceball) wrapped in oboro konbu.

↓ konbujime: Sashimi marinated in konbu.


Hijiki

↓ Simmered hijiki dish with soy beans and vegetables.

Mozuku

Mozuku is generally eaten with a vinegar/rice vinegar dip. Six varieties of mozuku are eaten or used in food preparation in Japan.

Wakame

Wakame has a subtly sweet flavor and is most often served in soups and salads or simply as a side dish to tofu and a salad vegetable like cucumber. These dishes are typically dressed with soy sauce and vinegar/rice vinegar.

Nori

Nori is commonly used as a wrap for sushi and onigiri. It is also a common garnish or flavoring in noodle preparations and soups. Toasted nori is called yaki-nori. A toasted and flavored nori is called ajitsuke-nori and it is commonly served for breakfast. Nori is also eaten by making it into a soy sauce flavored paste nori tsukudani.

Asakusa Nori is a purple variety of Nori. Because it is considered a better quality nori, it is often used in sushi where its taste and texture can be highlighted.

Aonori is used commonly for flavouring of some Japanese foods such as okonomiyaki, yakisoba, takoyaki, isobeage, and potato chips, usually by sprinkling the powder on the hot food, for its aroma.

↓ Okonomiyaki topped with aonori.

↓ Aonori flavored potato chips.

Tengusa

Tengusa is used to make kanten, which is mainly used as an ingredient in desserts. It can also be used as a vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener for soups, or in ice cream.

↓ Anmitsu dessert with kanten jelly cubes.

↓ Tokoroten noodle made from tengusa.

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