Honestly, before taking a class on sea vegetables, I never really gave them much thought. The flattened nori sheets, packaged for sushi, was the extent of my knowledge and my taste. Today, I made one of my new favorite varieties.
Hijiki (or Hiziki) is a strong flavored seaweed that grows along the rocky coastlines of Japan and China. It’s credited for being extremely high in calcium (over 10 times the amount in cow’s milk) and fiber. It also contains iron, potassium and other healthy trace elements.
Once hijiki is gathered, it is dried for at least 24 hours and then packaged. Prior to consumption it needs to be rehydrated in water, where is balloons to about 5 times it’s size! So a little can go a long way.
This appetizer comes from my culinary instructor, Chef Melanie Ferreira. In addition to teaching at the Natural Gourmet Institute, she teaches at the Academy of Healing Nutrition. The seaweed caviar was such a hit in class, we doubled the recipe and still didn’t have leftovers to share!
Recipe by Chef Melanie Ferreira
1/2 cup hiziki
water for soaking
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
2-3 Tablespoons shoyu or low-sodium soy sauce
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons
2 Tablespoons grated ginger, squeezed to make juice
1/2 baguette, toasted and thinly sliced (1/4-inch), pita chips or crackers
1: Place hiziki in a medium bowl and cover (about 1-inch over) with water. Soak for 15 minutes.
2: Remove hiziki from water and squeeze access liquid. In a large sauté pan, sauté hiziki in sesame oil about 5 minutes. Add soaking water and bring to a boil. Add shoyu and continue cooking until all liquid evaporates. Remove from heat.
3: In a medium sauté pan, sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil until softened and aromatic, about 5 minutes.
4: Finely chop hiziki. Add shallots and garlic, then season to taste with salt, lemon juice and ginger juice. Serve on toasted bread with tofu sour cream. (recipe below)
Tofu Sour Cream
Makes about 2 cups
12 ounces soft tofu
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons water
1/4-1/2 bunch chives or dill
1: Bring about one quart of water to boil. In a medium bowl, prepare an ice bath. Wrap tofu in a cheese cloth or place it in a small, mesh strainer. Submerge tofu for about 3-4 minutes. Remove, then place in ice bath until cool.
2: Place tofu, lemon juice, salt, olive oil and water in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add dill or chives, to taste, and puree until well incorporated.