Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What is HIJIKI????

Hijiki may be the most versatile seaweed of all. It's also extremely high in fiber - about 40% of it in dried form is fiber. Hijiki is not commonly seen on the menus of Japanese restaurants since it's used mostly for homely home cooking. It comes in dried form, as do most other seaweeds (except for salted 'fresh' wakame). It's usually soaked for about an hour beforehand, then rinsed, before use. If you're in a hurry though you can blanch it for a couple of minutes in boiling water, which hydrates it quite fast. Hijiki when reconstituted swells to about 5 times its original weight, so don't use too much! A serving is usually 1 or two tablespoons worth at most. Hijiki is known to be rich in dietary fibre and essential minerals. According to Japanese folklore, hijiki aids health and beauty and the thick, black, lustrous hair of the Japanese is connected to this regular consumption of small amounts of hijiki.

The traditional way to cook hijiki is to stew it in dashi stock flavored with soy sauce and often sugar, together with vegetables like carrot or lotus root, or fried tofu (aburaage). Since it's fairly neutral in flavor, it can be used in salads, or stir fries and such.

My kids LOVE edamame and I have been trying to put together new ways for them to eat their edamame. So I discovered Edamame Salad @ our local commissary here on Okinawa at the little sushi area. I bought one package and tested it out on them and whad'yah know they liked it! Ureeka! The edamame salad has Hijiki in it which they love as well. Due to the price of the small container of the salad I decided to make it myself from now on. It is very simple! Just oil,sesame seeds,hijiki, edamame and a tad of soy sauce!
Above you will see pics of Nico's bento for today and you can see the edamame salad along with a salmon onigiri, red grapes, chopped apples w/a dipper of peanut butter and a tiny container of caramel. Kids love dipping and sauces so when I can I try to throw in a dip or sauce.