Eat vegetables! We often hear this advice and indeed we eat vegetables, but do we include among vegetables also sea vegetation? Allow me to ask: Have you taken seaweeds into your regular diet or are you just looking at them through your snorkel goggles? I’m afraid they are not yet fully recognized and it’s a shame. Seaweeds are beautiful when rippling in a sea current soaked on rocks and coral reefs, but believe me, they are also beautiful in salads or as a decoration on your plate. I wrote about it in my Wakame blog. You may like to read it. I hope you will not be discouraged by the color of seaweeds, as they are often dark red, dark green to brown and there is also seaweed that may scare you because it is black. We associate the black color in food with something burnt. So, I advise you to take the first step towards this black seaweed consciously, also because it unfortunately looks like little worms. Many of you may already know what I am talking about. Yes, about hijiki. It is black because when cooked and dried in the processing, it turns black. But it is not roasted. Not burned at all.
When I was invited to the TV show Sama doma last week to cook from fermented ingredients, I decided to choose hijiki as one of the five dishes presented in the program. Hijiki dish is seasoned with soy sauce, mirin and sake. In addition, hijiki fit well into obento, which is a food box with a story. The twisted black hijiki formed the hair of the lovely devil Renren Konkon, which I created from several small dishes. Understand, it is obento for kids. And because there was a limited time on the show, we ended up talking mostly about hijiki. Here is the recipe:
hijiki itame – hijiki seaweed sautéed in sesame oil
1 package of dried hijiki (40 – 50 g)
60 ml sesame oil
50 ml soy sauce
50 ml mirin
teaspoons of instant dashi or 100 ml of dashi broth
3 tablespoons sugar
Algae can be revitalized in 2 liters of water, to which three tablespoons of sugar are added. After about an hour, the algae swell enough and have up to three times the content. The strained hijiki are then placed in a slightly warmed pan with sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin and dashi and slowly sautéed until the liquid is fried.
If you would like to add some other vegetables cut into small strips, such as carrots, to the hijiki during the sauntering, you can. Hijiki with carrots are in our menu in the section Chiisai osara. It’s our star dish. Our fixture. It is handy to add fried tofu aburaage to enrich the salad with protein. In contrast to fresh tofu, aburaage holds its shape well.
Today I have one more recipe for you. It builds on the previous one. When you have prepared the hijiki itame and they are sitting in the fridge waiting, add them to a salad of raw vegetables and you will immediately surprise your family with something completely new. Then equip the salad with delicious dressing with rice vinegar. In Miyabi we prepare a lotus root renkon with yuzu citrus, and when you make this dish, you can add to your hijiki salad dish not only renkon but also the sauce, which you get by cooking it. You can find the recipe on the Sama doma page.
Why are seaweed healthy?
They are healthy because they contain iodine and Omega 3. And also, important vitamin B3 and a large amount of minerals – calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. Actually, they have ten to twenty times more minerals than plants growing from the soil. In addition, they are very rich in fiber, which we eat less and less in our modern diet. Seaweeds are rightly ranked among the most important super foods. They will help you digest the food you eat together. The Japanese recommend to enjoy hijiki in the evening before bed, precisely because of their high magnesium content – it is good for calming. Hijiki also contain important vitamin K, are low in calories, act as a cholesterol controller and help balance the insulin and glucose ratio. They will fortify your hair and, moreover, your skin will also be more beautiful. Well, it is good to eat them! In addition, they have a nice name: Hizikia fusiformis or Sargassum fusiforme.
But be careful, if you eat hijiki too much, it’s not good either. A small amount is recommended regularly. In any case, I advise you to soak the dried hijiki in water, preferably with sugar, and let it infuse for an hour or so. You don’t need pollutants. It is good to extract them out.
I am curious how quickly hijiki will spread to Czech households. They became popular in America in the 1960s in connection with the macrobiotic movement for good health. And with hippies. I see that in our lands hijiki are already sold by Country Life, and maybe they will soon have them in regular supermarkets as well. When dried, they will be good for long time. You can buy adult hijiki – they look like long curly hairs – or hijiki babies. These are just little black shoots. To clearly show to you what hijiki look like and what mehijiki look like, we have prepared for you a weekend special offer of hijiki in a salad, hijiki in inarizushi and mehijiki embedded in a konnyaku jelly block. You can make konnyaku at home as a nimono, for example in a similar recipe as renkon, or you can buy konnyaku in Miyabi already sliced as a special sashimi with Miyabi yuzusumiso. We also have Mehijiki as tsukudani.
Did I help you not to be afraid of hijiki? Aren’t you afraid of their black color either? Hijiki are a hit! It’s food that when I don’t eat for a few days, I consciously remind myself that I should load it on my plate. I have high blood pressure and I also want my hair to be nice. I know that as long Miyabi is Miyabi, hijiki will be on the menu. They are Miyabi Retro fixtures.