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Old 01-08-2011, 09:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4meandthem View Post
This is kombu

Kombu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I use it in soups and stews.

The sushi wrapper seaweed (nori) i like for sushi or chiffonade it for salads. They also sell it in teryaki and regular flavor in little packs for snacking on like chips.

My bad. It is kombu. Don't know what I was thinking. Thanks for setting the record straight.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:32 PM   #12
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Seaweed is a generic term for about a dozen different kinds sold at Asian stores, all of which are not vascular plants but multicellular algae. The more common ones, already mentioned are kombu, wakame, and nori. They are very different; in fact, from entirely different plant genus.

Kombu is of the same genus (laminaria) as the giant kelp of Monterrey Bay. They are thick, like cardboard, and come packaged in large dried strips. They’re tough. To eat, they’re usually braised.

Wakame is an undaria usually packaged in crumpled little dried bits. When reconstituted, they expand to irregularly torn, very thin, almost translucent, sheets anywhere from fingernail to palm size.

Nori is a prophyra biofilm algae, gathered and compressed into thin dried sheets. Available seasoned.

For wakame seaweed salad, the one that first comes to most people’s mind is mixed with paper thin slices of cucumber and some very finely julienne ginger. One part soy sauce to two parts rice vinegar. Some people dilute it with the addition of dashi broth. Others also might thicken it with a pinch of starch.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:31 AM   #13
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Gardeners seaweed soup, in Jan after a good gale we go to our local beach and collect seaweed. I then wash the salt off put it in a big drum and cover with water, after about 2 months I mush it into a slurry and fork it into my potato and carrot beds, the results are quite freaky
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:11 AM   #14
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you grew a sandal? That is quite freaky.

I bet that Gardener's seaweed soup is great for gardening!
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:16 PM   #15
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There are many different types of "Dried Seaweed" - applications of which are dependent upon the type. Japanese cuisine always comes to my mind when someone says "seaweed".

Japanese cuisine is similar to good Italian food in my mind, in that it is heavily ingredient dependent. Quality product, and clean execution of technique is essential.

If what you have is wakame, I would also suggest a simple Miso soup as a place to start. If you're unable/unwilling to get bonito flakes and kombu to make a Dashi (the standard Japanese stock which only takes minutes to do), I would try to make an egg-drop soup of some sort as others recommended. Of course the success of an egg-drop soup is also dependent on a quality stock of some sort.
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:39 PM   #16
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For my Miso soup, I prefer to use actual bonito flakes and kombu to make my dashi rather than the instant Hon Dashi powder. I bring a saucier with a quart of water to a simmer with a strip of kombu (don't wash the silvery powder off!), then I add a fist-full of the bonito flakes. Once it comes back to a simmer, I shut the heat off and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Then I remove the solids by straining through a fine-mesh strainer - pressing the flakes with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid I can. While the dashi is resting for the 15-20 minutes, soak 1/2-C of the dried wakame in some water.

The soup is then made by bringing the dashi to a simmer. Drain the wakame a bit and add it to the dashi along with 1-C of cubed soft or silken tofu and 1/2-C of finely sliced shiitake mushroom . Simmer gently for a minute. Ladle about 1-C of dashi into another bowl with 1/4-C of white miso paste (I prefer all white). Whisk it to uniform consistency, and then pour it back into the soup (this prevents clumps). Bring it back to just under a simmer and then shut the heat off. Add 1/2-C of finely sliced scallion, and a very small pinch of finely ground white pepper (one of my touches that I like, but not very traditional). The miso paste is usually salty enough such that no additional salt is necessary, but taste just to be sure. Wait about a minute for the heat in the soup to draw some of the flavor and aroma out of the scallions, then serve.

This is classically served with some simple steamed white rice and pickles.

EDIT: The same soup prepared with egg in addition to or in place of the tofu is also excellent. Hot silken tofu has a similar texture to the gossamer egg threads that are formed - which is the combination I often use.
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:17 PM   #17
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How does one make "gossamer egg threads"? Using egg instead of tofu is useful for me, since I am not supposed to eat more than the tiniest amount of soy.
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:11 PM   #18
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I take some of the stock that is warm (not hot), and whisk it with some eggs in a bowl. Then get the soup to a simmer, and slowly drizzle the eggs into the soup as you stir the soup. You should get wisps of egg thinner than paper throughout the soup.

If you have a really good chicken stock, doing this technique and finishing with finely slivered scallions makes an excellent soup. Thicken with a bit of cornstarch at the end if you want that classic Chinese-American soup texture. Of course kosher salt, and I like a bit of white pepper.

You can also add some chile sauce which is great if you dig some heat.
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:49 PM   #19
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Thank you Mr. Mosher.
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:20 PM   #20
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For anyone interested in experimenting, here are the essentials which are sometimes tough to find - especially big bags of Bonito.

Bonito Flakes
Eden Foods - Bonito Flakes

Kombu
Eden Foods - Kombu

Wakame
Eden Foods - Wakame

These products are all very high quality, and together cost about $20.
For some reason my local earthy-crunchy stores carry the seaweed, but not the Bonito. The Bonito really provides 75% of the flavor of Dashi (IMHO).
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