Seaweed salad – wakame salada
Sometimes I get so obsessed with a recipe that I have to make it almost every day to fill my inner craving. I discovered this seaweed salad recipe in the Izakaya cookbook (I’ve since adapted) about a year ago and still haven’t gotten tired of eating it. The combination of rice vinegar, soy, mirin and dashi has a strange addictive effect on my palate. Pour this mix over creamy, silken tofu and the mineral taste of seaweed and I’m grinning from ear to ear. It’s one of those dishes that makes me salivate as soon as I think about its taste and super clean feel.
I’ve always adored sunomono which are essentially dishes with a vinegar base. As a little girl taco no sunomono – octopus salad with vegetables soaked in a sweet vinegar dressing was a favorite of mine. I ordered it every time I saw it on the menu and wished for my mother to make it at home. So it’s no surprise that this seaweed salad is at the top of my ‘dishes I’ve eaten the most in 2013’ list as I have a weakness for acidic foods. I also love the fact that it is rich in nutrients beneficial to my hair, skin and nails. I practice eating for beauty as often as I can!
If you’ve never used dried seaweed, don’t be intimidated by it! To avoid slimy, stinky seaweed all you need to know is to soak it for no longer than five minutes. Anything over that will change the texture and render the pieces too large and soft. Drain and squeeze out excess water (using your hands) and you should have seaweed that still yields a little crunch and feels almost jiggly. Leave the pieces in the strainer for a few minutes or in the fridge to cool and dry, and you should be good to go!
This seaweed salad is a small dish and therefore better served as a snack or a side. The taste is very Japanese; a little fishy, puckery acidic and slightly sweet. It makes a great side to other Japanese favorites such as omurice, clam chowder, cucumber vegetable maki rolls (use the leftover cucumber for it!) and aspara bacon yakitori.