Sunday, March 17, 2013

Seaweed Salad aka Kaiso Salad

My Mom LOVES seaweed salad. I do, too, but not like she does. Whole Foods occasionally has prepared seaweed salad available in their cold bar, and, whenever she visits me, she'll get a little box to take home. Usually you can only get seaweed salad in a Japanese restaurant, though you can occasionally buy it frozen at some Asian markets. 

Luckily, seaweed salad is REALLY easy to make at home - the hardest part is finding the seaweed mix! The mix itself is sold dried, and usually contains a blend of various seaweeds. I prefer the SeaVegi brand, which I can find locally at Whole Foods. It contains a combination of wakame, agar agar, suginori, tsunomata and mafunori. The seaweed is full of fiber and minerals such as iron and magnesium, and makes for a REALLY healthy salad. Plus, it's vegetarian and vegan friendly as well! 

The dressing is simple - a vinegar base, flavored with a dash of soy sauce (or tamari for vegan), a touch of sugar, some sesame oil for nuttiness, and a bit of ginger for bite. It will keep for about a week in the fridge, and is a great cold dish in hot weather! 

Seaweed Salad
adapted from Marc Matsumoto via PBS

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger juice (grate fresh ginger, and squeeze the juice from the pulp)
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Place the dried seaweed mix in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 5 minutes if you like your seaweed more crunchy, and for 10 minutes if you like it more tender (for me, 7 minutes is the "sweet spot"). Drain the seaweed, squeezing out as much of the water as possible, and place in a serving bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the rice vinegar, soy sauce/tamari, sesame oil, sugar, salt and ginger juice together until mixed. Pour over the drained seaweed and toss to combine.

Garnish the salad with the scallion and sesame seeds.

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