I admit, I've never attempted to cook seaweed before. But I love it - I order it out all the time - and it's incredibly healthy, virtually calorie-free and loaded with calcium, iron and magnesium. So when I stumbled across a version of this recipe online, I decided I wanted to try it. This being New York, I walked three short blocks from my apartment and, with surprisingly little trouble, found what I needed at my local Healthfoods store. The dried seaweed comes packaged in a clear, ziploc bag. For what looks like a small handful but is actually more than four times what this recipe calls for, it cost $13. Same with the mushrooms: there were at least eight dried varieties, but I bought a small box of maitakes for $4. Definitely worth it.
Back in my kitchen and feeling a little like Morimoto, I soaked the ingredients as directed and, amazingly enough, found myself with plumped-up, delicious seaweed and mushrooms only thirty minutes later. Even better, the seaweed tasted just like it always does in restaurants. Incredible! And really, really not difficult - so please don't be intimidated by these (only slightly) unusual ingredients!
I thought the braised kale and hijiki turned out great - soft and tender, with just enough of a sweet-and-sour kick from the soy sauce, sesame oil, and mirin. This is a great side dish or, if you want to bake a little tofu and toss it in, easily enough for a meal. And it's ridiculously healthy. So enjoy!
1/4 cup hijiki seaweed
1/4 cup dried maitake mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced into circles
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup shredded kale
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp mirin
Soak seaweed and mushrooms in 1/2 cup each of warm water for 30 minutes,
then drain and reserve soaking liquid
Chop mushrooms into bite-size pieces
Heat olive oil in a small pan, then add onion and cook till beginning to brown
Add garlic, carrots, seaweed and mushrooms, along with 1/4 cup of reserved soaking liquid
Cover pan and cook 30 minutes, or until carrots are very tender
(if mixture seems too dry, continue to add soaking liquid)
Add kale and cook another 5 minutes, or until wilted
Remove from heat and toss with the remaining four ingredients