Kombu (a member of the Kelp family) is probably most well known for the unique effect it has on the taste buds, that which the Japanese call Umami and what we know in the west as our fifth flavour or simply savoury.
Kombu is a very versatile sea green (brown!) which adds vitamins and minerals to any dish. It is used to make broths and serves as a base ingredient in stocks (such as dashi for miso soup).
It has a special use for cooking dried beans or pulses. When adding a strip of Kombu to the cooking process, it helps make beans much more digestible by breaking down the enzymes that cause the gassy feeling when eating beans. It also adds a subtle background flavour, by some described as tasting slightly bacony.
Add a 20 cm strip of Kombu to 1L stock, then simmer for at least 1hr depending on strength or flavour desired. The Kombu can then either be removed or snipped into bits and returned to the broth. I love the broth on its own with a sarnie or as a base for miso soup.
Oh, and don’t forget to try Kelp Crisps. They are the perfect (and healthy!) company to beer or whiskey.
This sea salad is a mix of Dulse, Sea Lettuce, Nori and Mermaid’s hair and can simply be ground in dry form to make a fab seasoning mix for a wide range of dishes from buttered new potatoes, steamed asparagus, salads, eggs or sandwiches. It can be eaten raw when rehydrated for 20 minutes and snipped onto salads, noodles or pasta dishes.
Alternatively, it can be added to any stew, soup or casserole to be cooked as a veg for added flavour and a huge vitamin and mineral kick!
The sea salad is a good option for those looking for a variety of flavours and colours, a simple but nutritious condiment, a salt alternative or an easy intro to cooking with seaweeds. I like to rehydrate it in a little water and snip onto salad and crackers for a light snack or side to any dish: light, easy and super filled with goodness!