Kombu is used for more than just dashi.
Whether it’s as an ingredient in miso soup or as a wrapping for onigiri, seaweed is synonymous with Japanese cuisine. Kombu (kelp) is best known as one of the main ingredients in dashi, but is equally good served as part of salads or stews. It’s loaded with umami, and therefore dishes in which kombu is an ingredient don’t require added flavor. Kizami-kombu is dried kelp which is shredded to produce a stringy texture. Usually it’s simmered with thinly sliced vegetables or used in asazuke (Japanese pickles) to add umami.
Satsuma-age (fried fish cakes) add volume to the stew. Made from ground fish, flour and seasoning, satsuma-age originate from southern Kyushu, but are found throughout Japan.
Thinly sliced deep-fried tofu pouches, shiitake, boiled edamame (soy beans) are also nice additions to this dish.
Ingredients (for 6 – 8 people)
- 25 g of kizami-kombu
- 80 g of carrot
- 2 sheets of satsuma-age (120 g)
- 400 ml of dashi soup
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1.5 – 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
In 1 liter of cold water, rinse the kizami-kombu and soften for 5 minutes (refer to the instructions on the kizami-kombu’s package) before draining.
Next, place the satsuma-age in a colander and pour 100 ml of hot water over the fish cakes to remove any excess oil.
Cut the carrot into 4 – 5 cm long square strips so that they resemble matchsticks
Place a saucepan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil on a medium heat, and sauté the carrot for 2 minutes. Add the kizami-kombu, mix well and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the satsuma-age and mix again.
Pour in 400 ml of dashi soup, 1.5 – 2 tablespoons of sugar and soy sauce. Turn the heat down low, simmer for 15 – 20 minutes with the lid on and serve.
This classic seaweed dish is simple and healthy. Add it to your next bento, or serve it alongside rice as a main meal.
Hijiki is a well known seaweed in Japan. There are two kinds: me-hijiki, (hijiki buds) which is relatively easy to prepare, and naga-hijiki, the stem of hijiki seaweed. Naga-hijiki takes longer to soften but has more texture.
Hijiki no nimono is considered to be “mother’s home cooking” (“ofukuro no aji“) and is rich in fiber, iron and calcium.
This dish usually contains carrots and deep-fried tofu pouches. Small pieces of chicken, shiitake mushrooms and edamame (boiled soy beans) can be added to the recipe.
This is a dish is good on the day it is prepared and even better the next.
Ingredients (For 6 – 8 people)
- 25 g of me hijiki (dry)
- 1 deep-fried tofu pouch
- 80 g of carrot
- 80 g of burdock roots
- 80 – 100 g of boiled soy beans
- 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of sake
- 1 tablespoon of mirin
- 3 and a half tablespoons of soy sauce
Fill a bowl with 1 liter of cold water and soak me hijiki for 15 – 20 minutes (refer to the me hijiki‘s package) before draining the seaweed.
Cut the carrot into rectangular strips 4 – 5 cm long and 2 mm x 2 mm wide.
Fill a small bowl with 500 ml of cold water and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Wash the burdock root and cut it into long thin strips, shaving it as though sharpening a pencil. Soak in the bowl of cold water to remove any bitterness and drain.
Pour 100 ml of hot water onto the deep fried tofu pouch and remove the excess oil. Cut into pieces 5 mm thin and 3 – 4 cm in length.
Place a pan on a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the carrot and burdock root, then sauté for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the me-hijiki, mix the ingredients well. Sauté for a minute more. Finally add the aburaage.
Add 200 ml of dashi soup,and turn the heat up to medium-high. Once it comes to the boil, turn the heat back down to medium-low and add 1/2 table spoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of sake, 1 tablespoon of mirin and 3 and a half tablespoons of soy sauce.
Simmer until the liquid is almost gone and serve.