10 types to try and how to enjoy them
Cooking with seaweed it is a way to eat in a varied and tasty way, letting oneself be inspired by gastronomic cultures in which these vegetables are widespread, especially that Chinese is that Japanese, but not only. Also in Italy it is traditional to use them, especially in some southern regions such as Campania, Sicily and Puglia, where they are the basis for many recipes. There are many edible seaweed, some better known, such as Nori seaweed, used to wrap sushi, others less known but certainly worth tasting, not only to experiment with different flavors, but also for the many beneficial nutrients that characterize these foods. We recommend 10 types of seaweed to try, how to cook them and the best recipes to like it
Why try seaweed
Since very ancient times, algae have been part of the diet of many civilizations, especially the oriental ones, which consume them both for their goodness and for their nutritional profile. They contain carbohydrates, proteins, fibers and are an excellent source of vitamins and mineral salts. They are distinguished, in particular, by the good content of B vitamins, of vitamin C e of beta carotenean antioxidant compound that our body transforms into vitamin A. Among mineral salts, they are excellent source of iodine, iron and zinc. Thanks to their nutritional composition, algae are attributed many beneficial properties that make them appreciated both as a basis for food supplements and as an ingredient in the kitchen: they would be able to improve thyroid functionto regularize the pressureto keep the levels under control glycemia in the blood, in addition to performing aantioxidant, purifying and stimulating action on the immune system. All with very few calories. In short, they are a food to try! With a small recommendation: as they are very rich in iodine don’t abuse it and, if you suffer from thyroid disease, ask your doctor for advice before eating them.
The tastiest edible seaweed to taste
Let’s find out some of the most famous seaweeds to try and the recipes to bring them to the table. You can easily find them for sale, dried, flaked or powderedin natural and organic food shops but also in many supermarkets.
Nori seaweed is aAlga Rossa among the most famous in the world. It is mainly known because it is used in many types of sushilike the Hosomaki eh Futomakithe classic cylindrical rolls in which it wraps the rice, the Uramakiin which the alga is inside instead of outside, i temakiwith a traditional cone shape, and the Onigiri, the rice and fish triangles that cover the base. But this seaweed can also be used as an ingredient for other recipes, not only of Japanese tradition, such as cereal and vegetable rolls or, chopped, as a condiment to enrich the dishes salads or poké bowls. It is usually sold in thin sheets of pressed seaweed.
Wakame seaweed is abrown seaweed widely used in Asian cuisine. Among the specialties of which it is the protagonist are the Goma Wakamea salad based on Wakame seaweed dressed with rice vinegar, spices, soy sauce and sesame seeds, and the Miyeo We, a traditional North Korean soup. Wakame seaweed can be used to enrich miso soup, a typical specialty of Japanese cuisine, but also stews, vegetables, legumes, soups and salads. You can find it for sale dried, to be rehydrated in water before use.
Kombu seaweed is abrown seaweed famous because it is used to prepare the Brodo Dashione of the ingredients of the Miso soup. It’s also great for flavor vegetable stews, tofu and seitan, used as a vegetable stock cube. It is in fact very rich in glutamic acid, whose sodium salt, glutamate, is used as a flavor enhancer, for example in cooking stock cubes. It can also be used in the cooking water of legumes, to make them more digestible. You can find it for sale both in leaves and dried and in powder form.
Spirulina is ablue seaweed, very small and with a characteristic spiral shape. We commonly call it “alga”, but in reality, like all blue algae, it is a cyanobacterium, i.e. a microscopic unicellular organism. It is famous because it is widely used as a food supplement, especially for slimming purposes, but it can also be used for cooking: powdered or dried in the form of stickscan be added tobread dough, focaccia and cakesa fruit juices and smoothiesin addition to being able to be used in salads, sauces and gravies. It is also used to enrich the gomasioa condiment of Japanese origin made from sesame seeds.
Dulse seaweed is aAlga Rossa with a slightly spicy taste. It can be used to flavor soups, stews, first courses and fish main coursesbut also to enrich the salads eh Side Dishes: among the tastiest combinations there are those with potatoes and onions. It is bought dried, to be rehydrated before use.
The Hijiki is a’brown seaweed with a threadlike appearance, widespread above all in some areas of Japan, where it is mostly used as an ingredient in meat and fish soups. It is one of the tastiest seaweeds: its strong taste makes it excellent to combine with pasta, rice and vegetables and to add to salads.
Alga Ulva Lactuca or Sea Lettuce
Ulva Lactuca seaweed, also known as sea lettuce, is aalga verde that you can eat both raw and cookedin salad or how contour to meat and fish dishes. It is widespread in the Mediterranean and, in Campaniais used to enrich the zeppole di mare, traditional savory pancakes made from grown dough that the addition of seaweed in the dough makes it even tastier.
Umibudo seaweed or sea grapes
Known as green caviar from Japan, the Umibudo seaweed, or sea grape, grows in the waters of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is widespread above all in the Okinawa area. It has long thin stems covered with hundreds of small soft balls which, when bitten, burst in the mouth releasing a salty but very balanced taste: a peculiarity that makes Umibudo seaweed very popular in the kitchen. It is used mostly rawin saladwith the tofucombined with tuna fish o salmonand it can be seasoned with vinegar or with soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce.
L’wire seaweed it’s a’brown seaweed widespread in Japan, Peru and on the northern Pacific coast. Compared to other types of algae it has a more delicate tastemaking it ideal to add to salads e vegetable dishesas well as for the preparation of oriental specialties, for example combined with tofu and tempeh.
Agar Agar is not a seaweed, but a product derived from different types of red algae. It is a vegetable gelling agent widely used in the kitchen to prepare puddings, aspic and dessert jellies. It’s a great one alternative to jellies of animal originlike isinglass, perfect for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. In Japanese it is called “Sides“, which means “cold sky”: a reference to its grayish color and neutral flavor which makes it suitable for many preparations. It is available in sheets, flakes or in the form of powder.
Have we whetted your palate? Then add “bringing seaweed to the table” to your good resolutions for 2023: they’ll be a great discovery!