Edible seaweeds are found in many Asian dishes. Probably the most well known is nori which is dried and formed into sheets used for making sushi and maki.
But there are so many other edible seaweeds. Lato (sea grapes) is very common in the Philippines. When we were in Albay last summer, dried noodles made from seaweed were sold in markets and stalls in tourist areas.
In Japanese cooking, apart from nori, probably the most familiar seaweed to us Filipinos is wakame — those little bits of green that we find in miso soup.
Wakame is an edible seaweed and it is good or bad depending on which part of the world you live in. In New Zealand, it is considered invasive. In Japan and Korea, it is good food.
In local markets, packs of dried wakame are sold cut and uncut. Uncut, it looks like dried thick grass. The strands need to be soaked in water then cut before use. Cut dried wakame (above) is more convenient to use. Just place in a bowl, add warm water…
… and the wakame swells considerably and is ready to eat.
But did you know that there are actually two kinds of seaweed in miso soup? The broth is made with dashi which is the result by boiling together kombu (a kelp or large seaweed) and bonito (dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna).
That’s dried kombu above. Preparation is pretty much the same as that of wakame.
Place in a bowl, add warm water and wait until swollen. For convenience, tear or cut into smaller pieces before adding to a dish.