Edit ModuleShow Tags
Published:

Seaweed: A Common Japanese Ingredient



Article author photo. Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD This featured post is by Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD. You can follow this blogger @RDontheMove.

Before moving to Japan my thoughts on eating seaweed were “gross,” “yuck” and “why.”  Being a dietitian, I actually knew the answer to “why,” but my question was more like, “Why would they put that in everything?” That was my initial perception of seaweed as a Japanese ingredient. My problem with seaweed stemmed from a dislike of the nori used in sushi. I didn’t like the consistency, and I didn’t like the taste. I wanted to like it, believe me — I just couldn’t.

Then we moved to Japan. My belief that seaweed was gross continued as we were getting settled. If I was served miso soup with seaweed, I would fish it out with my chopsticks. If I was served a seaweed salad, I would send it over to my husband.

But then something changed. I became more familiar with Japanese culture. I was more adventurous in trying Japanese foods. Before I knew it, I tried the seaweed floating in my miso soup … and I liked it! I was amazed to realize it was very different from nori. This seaweed — wakame, commonly found in seaweed salad and soup — had a different flavor and texture. Most of the time if you are served seaweed in Japan it is wakame.

The other common type is kombu, which is a thicker seaweed used to provide flavor in dashi, the common Japanese broth found in many dishes, including miso soup and tamagoyaki (Japanese omelet).

The last type of seaweed that I have come across in Japan is known as mozuku. It has sort of a slimy texture so I will admit to passing on trying it the first few times I was offered this at a market. Thankfully, a relentless older Japanese woman made me try it one day. It was a lot sweeter than I expected and definitely easier to chew and swallow. After that experience, I can honestly say I am a fan of edible seaweed. This definitely pleases me because not only am I more accepting of our host country now, but seaweed provides so many nutrients that I would hate to miss!


Udon Seaweed Soup

Recipe developed by Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD

Serves 2

Ingredients
4 cups dashi, soy or miso broth*
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups cooked udon noodles
1 ounce dried wakame (rehydrated)

Directions

  1. Heat dashi or other broth until boiling, reduce heat to medium and add cooked noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes. Split into 2 bowls and top with the seaweed.
  2. There are many variations, so consider adding mushrooms, carrots or any veggies that you like. Tofu makes a nice addition as well. You may also consider adding fresh grated ginger or additional miso paste to suit your palate.

Notes

  • *There are many dashi recipes available online, or it can be purchased from an Asian market. This is a traditional broth made from kombu seaweed and dried bonito.
  • Udon noodles can be found in many Asian markets and grocery stores with Asian food sections. They are sold both frozen or cooked (vacuum packed).
  • The wakame comes freeze-dried. There should be directions for rehydrating on the package, but if not, soaking for 5 minutes in water is usually sufficient.

Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD, is a registered dietitian and military spouse living in Japan. She is co-author of Train Your Brain to Get Thin, and blogs at NutrFoodTrvl.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter.

Edit Module

More Stone Soup

Spicy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Spicy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pork is rubbed with spices, slow cooked in ale until tender and tossed with a tangy sauce to make delicious spicy slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches.
Olive Tapenade

Olive Tapenade

The addition of roasted red peppers gives this tapenade a sweet contrast and improves the color. Serve it with warm pita bread, spread on a cracker or toss it with pasta, tomatoes and cooked chicken.
Crab Cakes Run in the Family

Crab Cakes Run in the Family

I have always had a love for cooking. I'm lucky that it runs in my family, and I have an abundance of great cooks to inspire me. I don't think I've ever disliked something my dad has made. His soups are to die for along with his perfectly fried chicken. My grandmother can entertain dozens at the drop of a hat and amaze them with her abundant spread of a delicious feast. And my aunt can come up with a mouthwatering meal based solely on the ingredients in the kitchen and pantry—no grocery store trip needed.
Celebrating Apple Pie Day with a Healthier Twist

Celebrating Apple Pie Day with a Healthier Twist

Numerous studies have shown that apple consumption is linked to cancer prevention, heart health and weight maintenance.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Advertise with Food & Nutrition
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags


Stone Soup

Guest bloggers from around the world share with Food & Nutrition Magazine.

About This Blog

Stone Soup is a guest blog written by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Content — including information, recipes and views expressed — is that of the authors and does not reflect the positions or policies of Food & Nutrition Magazine or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Bloggers are required to pledge they will not write for Stone Soup on topics, companies or trade organization they currently represent or have represented at any time.

Learn about our guest blogs!

Comments Policy

Food & Nutrition Magazine provides this forum to exchange ideas, opinions and contributions within a positive community. Diverse viewpoints and constructive, respectful dialogue are welcome. Rudeness, misinformation, self-promotion and abuse are not. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate this policy or our Terms & Conditions. You must include your name or be logged into a personal account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to comment.

Archives

Edit Module

Get Stone Soup in Your RSS

Use your RSS reader's instructions to add Stone Soup to your list:

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Stone Soup Feed »

Get Our Blogs in Your Email

Stone Soup
Student Scoop