Posts tagged ‘Seaweed’

November 3, 2011

Wakame

Wakame.
Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

Chuka Wakame, Japanese seaweedsalad, is my newest love.

Already for months actually, but the more I eat it, the more I love it. I try not to think that it could be nucleair, because the seagrass mainly comes from Japan. But hey, so does my sushi and I can’t say no to that either. The one Japanese thing I’m not ready to eat yet is the Blowfish or Fugu (Here@Wiki). I’ll have to be mentally prepared for that. In Japan there’s a saying:

To throw away life, eat blowfish.

Well, the tomb of the Fifth Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Ti was engraved with the puffer’s bloated image. The Bible warned against eating fish without fins and scales, like the Red Sea puffer. The fish is loaded with a nerve toxin 500 times deadlier than cyanide. BUT according to a JapaneseFugu-chef, the taste is

as subtle as the fragrance of spring rain dripping upon a stone.

Hmmm makes me wonder. I wonder how I’d describe the taste. Okay. One day I’ll hope to be brave enough to report you about my Fugu-experience.

Are YOU daring enough to try the blow- or fugu fish? Did you ever try? How would you describe the flavour?

 

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For now, I’ll stick to Wakame. (Here@Wiki)
Wakame (ワカメ,wakame), Undaria pinnatifida, or Miyeok (Hangul: 미역) in Korean, is a sea vegetable, or edible seaweed. It has a subtly sweet flavour and is most often served in soups and salads. In China, it is called qúndài cài (裙带菜).[7] Chinese production is concentrated around Dalian. In Korea, it is called miyeok (미역)[7] and used in salads or soup such miyeokguk. In French, it’s called “fougère des mers”. In English,it can be called “sea mustard”. Sea-farmers have grown wakame forhundreds of years in Korea and Japan.

Wakame fronds are green and have a subtly sweet flavour and slippery texture. The leaves should be cut into small pieces as they will expand during cooking. In Japan and Europe, wakame is distributed either dried or salted, and used in soups (particularly miso soup), and salads (tofu salad), or often simply as a side dish to tofu and a salad vegetable like cucumber. These dishes are typically dressed with soya sauce and vinegar/rice vinegar.

Chuka wakame, also known as seaweed salad, is a popular side dish at sushi restaurants. Literally translated, it means “sesame seaweed”, as sesame seeds are usually added to the recipe.

Health Benefits
Studies conducted at Hokkaido University have found that a compound in wakame known as fucoxanthin can help burn fatty tissue.[2] Studies have shown that fucoxanthin induces expression of the fat-burning protein UCP1 that accumulates in fat tissue around the internal organs. Fucoxanthin from edible seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, shows antiobesity effect through UCP1 expression in white adipose tissues. Mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is usually expressed only in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and a key molecule for metabolic thermogenesis to avoid an excess of fat accumulation. However, there is little BAT in adult humans. Therefore, UCP1 expression in tissues other than BAT is expected to reduce
abdominal fat.

In Oriental medicine it has been used for blood purification, intestinal strength, skin, hair, reproductive organs and menstrual regularity. Wakame contains a lot of calcium,
eggwhites, kalium and magnesium to keep the bones strong. It also contaiuns the following vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 & C.

In Korea, miyeokguk is popularly
consumed by women after giving birth as miyeok contains a high content of calcium and iodine, nutrients that are important for nursing new mothers. Many women consume it during the pregnancy phase as well. It is also traditionally eaten on birthdays for this reason, a reminder of the first food that the mother has eaten and passed on to her
newborn through her milk, thus bringing good fortune for the rest of the year.

Wakame is also used in topical beauty treatments.

RECIPE:
If you can find the seaweed–usually packed in salt (soak, rinse, drain) try this dressing:
Dressing for Wakame Salad (from Japanese Cookbook). No wakame? Try this dressing with cucumber!
********************************************
for 1-1/2 cup fresh wakame seaweed
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Japanese chili pepper powder
1/2 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger root, peeled and chopped

Wash salt off fresh wakame seaweed and soak for about 5 minutes. Chop into 1-inch pieces. If you use dried seaweed, soak it in water for about 20 minutes, remove the hard parts, and chop into 1-inch pieces.

Combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Toss with wakame just before serving. Garnish with chopped ginger.

 

Thank you  Laboratory of Biofunctional Material Chemistry, Division of Marine Bioscience, Japan & Wikipedia

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