Cooking with Sea Spaghetti
Sea spaghetti has been used for centuries all over the world in coastal communities to act as both a rich carrier of vital nutrients and to bring its unique shape, texture and gently sweet flavour to the plate.
It has been termed ‘Spaghetti del Mar’ for its looks and easy use as a substitute for pasta, but it is probably best treated simply as a vegetable in anything from stews, soups, casseroles, salads, omelettes, stir-fries, as a bed for a fish dish or deep-fried in batter or on its own and drizzled with lemon.
You can just eat it raw. Straight from the bag in dried form it tastes surprisingly like biltong (beef jerky, so quite salty) and has that same awesome chewy texture.
If you soak it for about 30 minutes it will swell up to 5 times its size and weight, and turns a deep earthy green. It becomes soft with a slightly crunchy texture. Lovely in salads, or to add to rice dishes after cooking.
BOIL & STEAM
Boil it together with your ordinary spaghetti for 5-15 minutes, or instead of! Like spaghetti, it gets softer the longer you boil it. Alternatively, steam it for 20-35 minutes until tender.
When steamed, it remains firmer than when cooked.
To stir fry, first soak it in tepid or cold water for up to 30 minutes until it has increased in size and becomes soft. Cut it in chunks and stir fry it for 5-10 minutes on medium heat.
Soak in water for 15 minutes and deep fry it until crisp, which will take a few seconds, so keep an eye on it!
Seaweeds are the most powerful food that we have on this planet. Not really plants, they are algae, growing in the shallower parts of the world’s oceans. Seaweeds contain all the minerals that our body needs and have the highest number of vitamins, minerals and trace elements compared to any other food group.
Unsurprisingly, it has played a vital part in the diets of a large number of cultures, including the Inuit, Japanese, Incas and the Irish. Did you know that the Inuit get all their vitamin C from seaweeds?
Seaweeds contain unique compounds that help the body remain healthy. Plus, they taste amazing and have wonderfully unique cooking properties too!
ARE SEAWEEDS REALLY THAT SPECIAL?
Seaweeds live in a very complex environment and are exposed to extreme and rapidly changing environmental conditions, including great changes in salinity, desiccation, exposure to high UV levels, temperature and nutrients. To survive and adapt to these conditions they have developed special mechanisms that are unique or are present at much higher concentrations than in any other plant or animal1. These mechanisms include chemical components which cannot be found in other organisms and many of these prove to be very valuable for human health.
A wide range of benefits, from reducing the risk of disease to improving the state of health or well-being, have been attributed to various seaweed species. Here is a list of some of the health properties of seaweed.
- A wide range of vitamins, minerals and proteins
- Fibre (Some species as much as 30%, although the green seaweeds do not contain any)
- Low fat levels (>3%), but the fat it contains is high in unsaturated fat
- Protein (from 8 to 25%)
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