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Flavours of Japan - Seaweed

Jc seaweed mix 860 560

Edible seaweed has been a staple part of the Japanese diet for thousands of years, and has subsequently found its place in Western cuisine as a health food. This is thanks, in large part, to the growing influence of Japanese cuisine. This unusual ingredient appears on our tables in numerous different forms, celebrated for its unique flavour profile and versatility.

In the same vein as leafy green vegetables, this sea-grown green algae is wonderfully good for us: high in protein, low in fat and packed full of vitamins and minerals. Beyond its superfood status, seaweed tastes delicious too, adding texture and a subtle saltiness to all types of dishes.

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Japanese nori seaweed

Nori Seaweed

A salty seaweed great for wrapping sushi.

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Japanese wakame seaweed

Wakame Seaweed

Sweet, textured, and delicious with miso soup.

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Jc seaweed nori 860 560

Seaweed Types

Nori is perhaps the best-known variety of Japanese seaweed, most commonly found toasted, flattened into paper-thin sheets and wrapped around sushi and onigiri rice balls. Nori can also be used with miso soup as a seasoning, flaked over salad and fish dishes, or flavoured with chilli or wasabi and packed as a crisp-like snack.

As well as nori, there are a number of other seaweeds commonly used in Japanese cuisine. These include dulse, also known as sea lettuce, which has a distinctly savoury and almost bacon-like flavour; the slightly sweet wakame, which is delicious when added to edamame salad or miso soup; and kombu or kelp, which is used to season the Japanese broth dashi.

Japanese kombu kelp seaweed

Kombu Kelp Seaweed

Full of umami for making great dashi soup stock.

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Japanese edible seaweed salad

Seaweed Salad Mix

A leafy side dish packed with vitamins and minerals.

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Recipes and Serving Suggestions

Seaweed popcorn

Popcorn alle alghe nori

Enjoy a different take on sweet and salty popcorn with this recipe. Nori is one of the most commonly used seaweeds in Japanese cuisine, due to both its use as a wrapping in foods like sushi and oni...

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Tuna poke

Insalata di tonno Poke con furikake alle alghe

Create one of the culinary sensations of 2016 with this tuna poke bowl recipe. Pronounced 'poh-KEH', poke is a traditional Hawaiian delicacy made by dressing fresh, raw fish in a soy sauce/sesame o...

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Tofu wrap

Wrap di alghe nori al tofu e al sesamo

Enjoy a nutrient-rich dish without losing flavour with these tasty wraps. Made by wrapping up quinoa, assorted vegetables and soy sauce/sesame seasoned tofu in nori seaweed, these delicious rolls a...

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Seaweed is the star of many Japanese dishes, but it can also be incorporated into Western cooking. Try sprinkling nori flakes over a batch of freshly popped corn, replace bacon in a quiche with salty dulse, stir seaweed into a fish risotto or use it to add depth of flavour to all sorts of stocks, soups and broths.

With so many different varieties available, seaweed is a fantastic ingredient for the adventurous home cook to experiment with.

Recipes & content courtesy of Great British Chefs