In the depths of the Pacific ocean…
There live horrifying, many-tentacled creatures
That are just chock-full of iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc
and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K! And fiber!
I feel like seaweed is rather underrated, just because of its odd appearance, and the fact that it is indeed called “sea-weed“. I think they should be called “sea-greens“. Because nutritionally, eating seaweed is very much like eating greens such as spinach, broccoli, kale, chard, collards, turnip and mustard greens. And depending on the type of seaweed, it can often be cooked like our better-known western greens. Soups, salads, stir-fried or sauteed, mixed with grains, beans, and other proteins…
Such as a multi-grain tempeh.
I’ve tried a few different types of seaweed– kombu, kelp, dulse, hijiki, laver, and of course, nori, the type that is used for sushi rolling. When it comes to preparing seaweed at home, wakame– what you see in my photos here– is my favorite so far. It’s got a mild flavor and melds well with different condiments and spices. And at least with the packages I’ve found, it’s hardly salty at all. I don’t feel like I’m eating the ocean when I eat wakame. Many seaweeds need to be boiled, rinsed, boiled again, rinsed again… With this stuff, I just rehydrate with cool water, and drain. Bam. I also like that a small amount when dried yields quite a bit once rehydrated and ready to eat. So a few bucks for a big package means a long-lasting source of a nutritious vegetable. Rather convenient in case of emergency budgeting, or the wrath of a hurricane.
Simple Tempeh & Wakame
a handful of dried wakame (you may need scissors to cut off the desired amount from the rest of the package)
1 8-oz package of tempeh*
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
about 1/4 cup rice wine (or any white cooking wine)
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2-3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
Optional: Schichimi spice blend, or a dash of cayenne and ginger
*You can also use extra firm tofu, and/or a cup or two of some cooked grain or noodles
1) In a large bowl, cover the wakame with cool water and let sit for 5-6 minutes, or until soft. Drain, and chop into bite-size pieces. Slice the tempeh into bite-size pieces as well. Set aside.
2) In a large pan or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion, and lower the heat to medium. When the onion begins to soften and caramelize a bit, add the wakame and tempeh. Cook for a few minutes, until the tempeh starts to brown.
3) Add the wine, and allow that to simmer to a reduction. Then add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and spices if using. Taste and adjust. If the soy sauce is too strong, add more rice vinegar. If the flavor is dull, add more soy sauce, extra spices, or some salt and pepper.
And people think I don’t eat seafood anymore… :p