Hijiki Seaweed Salad
Last week we went to one of our favorite Japanese restaurants in town and ordered seaweed salad. Since then, I’ve made several seaweed salads including one with wakame and today, it’s one with hijiki. It’s vegan and very nutritious.
Hijiki seaweed is a rich source of iron and calcium and it also contains a lot of dietary fiber, so you really can’t go wrong it. It has a distinct flavor but it’s not strong and the texture is somewhat firm and chewy. Dried hijiki seaweed is readily available in grocery stores and most certainly in health food stores.
This salad also uses abura-age or deep-fried tofu and because it’s fried, a little goes a long way. It’s often used to make inari-zushi. Another ingredient is konnyaku which is devil’s tongue jelly. It’s a vegetable product and it’s supposedly good for digestion and it’s very low in calories. See the recipe for daikon and konnyaku if you want any more ideas on how cook with it.
After the seaweed has been soaked in water and drained, it will look like this. The recipe I used is adapted from The Book of Basic Japanese Cooking (ISBN9784072795453). The book is in English and Japanese.
Hijiki Seaweed Salad
3/4 cup dried hijiki seaweed
4 pieces of abura-age (deep-fried tofu pockets)
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into thin sticks
1 block konnyaku, cut into thin sticks
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3/4 cup kombu/shiitake dashi
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1. Put the dried hijiki in a large bowl with plenty of water. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Drain in a sieve and squeeze out excess water.
2. Boil the konnyaku pieces in water for 5 minutes; remove it from the water. This steps firms up the konnyaku. Use the same boiling water to cook the abura-age for 5 minutes; remove the abura-age, cool and squeeze out excess water. This step removes the excess grease from the abura-age.
3. Heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan. Add the hijiki seaweed, abura-age, carrots and konnyaku pieces to the pan and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes on high heat. Add the dashi, soy sauce, mirin, salt and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes. Turn down the heat and cook for 15 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve warm or at room temperature.