Saturday, 12 October 2013

seaweed salad

Seaweed salad? Quite a bizarre addition given the sugary trend of this blog (last post's buta no kakuni was another exception). However, the savouries may really make an appearance now that I'm to concoct some canapes for an event. But for now, here is a recipe for seaweed salad.

I say recipe but really, like all salad dressing, it is all about personal preference. This suits me as a nice dressing base but twist it how you like- add chilli flakes, a little wasabi and so forth. Unlike leafy salads, seaweed salads quite like being dressed ahead of time so they can marinate a little. I used two different seaweeds here: wakame and shredded kelp or kombu.

For the people who have long been searching for the elusive seaweed forming the main component of the chuka salad, this is it: shredded kombu stems. I found this in the frozen section of the oriental supermarket in Kingston. As the pack instructs, it really needs a good long soak and rinse to get rid of the saltiness. Following that is the painstaking task of tearing the stems along the fibre to get them into strand.

The next addition to my salad is white fungus, (tremella fuciformis). At home, we call it, pronunciation wise, "shi yi" or what would be the equivalent of "snow ears" in English. My Cantonese is poor and that really isn't how the correct pinyin is, but that is how it sounds to my ear. It has a lovely crunch (if you take care not to boil it too long, in which case it would dissintegrate into gloop, or if you have it 'raw' as I have) and a nutty-woody taste.

Anyway, it works well here and is beautifully white addition to the salad before it gets dunked in the dressing. Before using it, it need to be hydrated into an awesome spongey ruffle, and make sure it is washed well of the specks of dirt wedged between its fronds. The Japanese call it shiro kikurage. Lastly, I added julienne carrots for sweetness, more crunch and colour. I would have used agar agar in it too, but didn't have any at hand.

(serves about 10)
For the salad:
400g kombu stems8g wakame
30g white fungus1 large carrot         

For the dressing:
7tbsp soy sauce2 tbsp water
2tbsp rice wine vinegar
45g sugar
2tsp sesame oil            
1g salt

  • Soak the seaweeds and fungus in water until fully hydrated.
  • Clean the white fungus.
  • Shred the white fungus and kombu stems.
  • Drain the seaweeds and fungus.
  • Julienne the carrot.
  • Mix together the dressing and toss with salad.
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