“I love sushi, and I’m always snacking on seaweed chips, but cookIng wIth sea vegetables? I’m lost. Any poInters I can use?” —Reid S., Binghamton, NY
First off, good call. Sea vegetables like kelp, sea palm, and agar are chock-full of chlorophyll, iron, and other minerals. They can also help boost metabolism and circulation, and improve the health of your hair and skin.
My Japanese ancestors have been cooking with seaweed for hundreds of years, so I’ve inherited some tricks and tips for preparing sea vegetables directly from an expert—my mom.
Dried and prepackaged wakame is delicious when reconstituted and used in stir-fry, miso soup, quinoa salad, or cucumber salad, while fresh, bright green wakame (find it bagged at your grocery store) makes
a great green salad. Wakame is traditionally enjoyed over rice and with udon noodles.
The same seaweed that’s used to make sushi rolls and seaweed snacks can be shredded and used to add flavor—plus iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C—to rice, salads, and Asian noodle dishes. Also keep an eye out for flavored varieties.
Kombu is used to make dashi, a seaweed stock often incorporated in Japanese cuisine. It’s also served fresh alongside sashimi or rice dishes, or sliced and added to soba noodle salads, soups, or kombu-maki, which is served in traditional Japanese oden meals and hot-pot recipes. You can also reconstitute kombu, marinate it, and pair it with cooked vegetables.