Seaweed is a key component of Japanese cuisine. Whether you are using it to make maki, or simmering it for a rich kombu dashi, it’s helpful to get to grips with the different types and what they are used for. Whatever you use seaweed for, it’s widely acknowledged that it is packed with vitamins and minerals, so it makes for a healthy, delicious snack even on its own!
This is our introduction to the 4 types of seaweed we sell, and how you can use them at home:
Kombu is generally used to make soups, stocks and broths. You can achieve an incredibly umami-rich kombu dashi by simply simmering the kombu in water – this provides you with a vegan friendly stock that can be used in a manner of ways. Our Rishiri Wild Kombi is from Hokkaido and has a glowing reputation for its rich flavour. Mastering a simple kombu dashi will provide you with the best foundation for hundreds of Japanese recipes! If you prefer a savoury snack, you can even use it to make Kombu Tsukudani by simmering the kombu in a soy sauce mixture and topping with sesame seeds.
This might be the type that comes to mind when you hear of seaweed being used in Japanese cooking; nori comes in sheets and is most often used to wrap maki sushi or onigiri rice balls. We have a variety of nori sheets available, and even DIY Sushi Kits, if you want to give it a go yourself! Alternatively, you can crumble the nori over the top of rice and noodle dishes for a salty, umami crunch. Our Angel’s Hair Nori Strips are perfect for this as they are already cut into fine strips so they can be used to delicately garnish your cooking.
While Wakame has the classic umami flavour of seaweed, it’s much lighter in taste and texture, making it more palatable when eaten on its own. You can enjoy wakame in a variety of ways, on its own or mixed with other vegetables. It makes a delicious side dish when steamed and dressed with vinegar, or add it to miso soup for an even deeper flavour. We sell wakame on its own, whole or shredded, but we also sell pre-mixed seaweed salads ready to be dressed and enjoyed.
Grown in Okinawa, umibudo is often referred to as sea grapes due to their plump spheres that pop in your mouth. This popular snack is enjoyed raw, on its own or as an exciting side dish. Simply rinse and soak the umibudo in cold water for a few minutes before serving with a high quality ponzu and enjoy the burst of fresh flavour. Also known as green caviar, it makes an exceptional plant-based alternative to traditional caviar!