6 seaweed recipes that take the versatile plant beyond sushi


Health professionals hail seaweed for its nutrient-rich and fiber-rich properties. Conservationists praise its ability to absorb carbon underwater and grow rapidly without food. All of this is true for this small but mighty plant. My first bite of seaweed, however, came not from an advertisement for its health or climate benefits, but atop a bowl of comforting rice.

As a kid, I welcomed every opportunity to munch on this salty snack. Have school lunch, my mother’s bane of the week. She often worked over 50 hours, so when she felt particularly overwhelmed, she would send me a thermos of rice sprinkled with furikake seasoning and a packet of crispy seaweed. And guess what? I was totally happy, if not thrilled, to find this combination in my lunch box. Soon I became the envy of my class lunches, and others started bringing their own combinations of seaweed and rice to school.

At the time, my mother could only find seaweed in our local Korean and Chinese grocery stores. But now seaweed in many of its forms – nori, gim, furikake and more – can be found in supermarket aisles. Chefs from all corners of the globe use it for an umami kick. And you too can prepare a pleasantly crunchy meal with seaweed. Check out our recipe finder for more seaweed recipes or dishes that deserve a splash of flavor.

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Donburi with Steak and Asparagus, above. After an intense day, nothing beats a comforting spoonful of yakiniku donburi or a bowl of rice topped with grilled meat and vegetables. In this dish, crushed nori shines like a flaky condiment and flavorful nori butter coating the seared meat.

Sushi Chirashi. Chirashi is a type of choose-your-own meal. The best chirashi relies on the freshest and most colorful ingredients. Soak your rice overnight for the fluffiest bed. Ask for sashimi-grade salmon or the freshest catch available at your fishmonger. Collect seasonal vegetables and form colorful patterns on your rice.

Creamy bucatini with roasted seaweed. Gim, Korea’s nuttier and saltier version of Japanese nori, takes center stage in this easy pasta recipe. Creamy pasta isn’t the only dish just waiting for a touch of gim. Porridge, rice dishes, and oatmeal are other canvases for this umami condiment.

An unusual snack for cows, a powerful solution for the climate

Smoked Tofu Okonomiyaki. For a vegetarian version of this savory pancake from southern Japan, use smoked tofu instead of bacon. A squirt of Kewpie mayo and okonomiyaki sauce (A1 works as a substitute) and a sprinkle of furikake or katsuobushi, also known as dried and smoked skipjack tuna, complete the dish.

Musubi. These days, we add spam to everything — fried rice, scrambled eggs, or even a classic breakfast sandwich — but it’s at its best in a nori-wrapped teriyaki-glazed musubi. This portable snack is the ultimate on-the-go lunch, picnic snack, beach treat, or appetizer for any dinner party.

Wasabi avocado and crab on crispy rice cakes. Crab and avocado come together for a crispy bite inspired by the flavors of California rolls. Serve these cakes with miso soup or a chilled vegetable salad for a refreshing summer meal.

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