Wild Hijiki - Japanese Sun-Dried Seaweed
On the Pacific coast of Japan, east of Tokyo, is the historic Boshu Peninsula, an area famous for its fresh seaweed and excellent hijiki. In Japan, where vegetables of the sea are as common to the traditional cuisine as garden vegetables, Boshu Hijiki is a favorite. Wild Hijiki thrives in the swirl of warm and cold currents of the pure coastal waters. Hand-picked at low tide in early spring, it is prepared in the traditional Boshu manner; using the entire plant and without adding colorings or dyes. Boshu Hijiki is unique in that it is never soaked, thus retaining all its valuable nutrients and trace minerals.
Uses: Hijiki may be served as a side dish, added to "kinpira" or simmered with shoyu and mirin. It is delicious combined with tofu, carrots, or onions. Hijiki is also a flavorful addition to light noodles, grains, or vegetable salads and is traditionally used to strengthen the lungs. By weight, Mitoku Hijiki contains 12 times more calcium than milk.
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Cooking With Hijiki
When properly cooked and presented, hijiki is very attractive. Its shimmering black color adds vivid contrast and beauty to any meal. When planning a meal that includes hijiki, try to use foods with colors that create an attractive contrast to the blackness of the hijiki. Carrots, winter squash, and pumpkin offer deep orange colors, while lightly steamed broccoli and watercress provide bright green tones. Cold hijiki salad topped with a creamy white tofu dressing and a sprinkle of finely minced green onion or parsley presents an attractive contrast of colors, and is particularly appealing on a hot summer day. Although hijiki and arame are prepared in similar ways, there are a few important differences. Hijiki is thicker, somewhat coarser, and has a strong ocean flavor.
Hijiki should be rinsed quickly but carefully to remove foreign matter such as sand and shells, then soaked in water to cover. Because of the its texture, hijiki should be soaked for a full ten minutes. Longer soaking draws out the important nutrients and waterlogs these vegetables making them less able to absorb the flavor of seasonings used in the recipe.
If you use the soaking water in cooking, pour it carefully so as not to disturb any sand or shells that may have sunk to the bottom. Keep back a small amount in the bowl and then discard it. Using the soaking water results in a somewhat stronger flavor and decreases the need for added salt or shoyu. In the recipes that follow, fresh water was used, so if you choose to use soaking water, cut the amount of shoyu in half, and add more only if needed.
Take into consideration that soaking increases the dried volume of hijiki by about three times. One cup of dried hijiki will become three cups when soaked. For general preparation, squeeze out excess water after soaking and sauté the sea vegetable in a little oil for a few minutes. Add soaking water or fresh water to almost cover and simmer until the vegetable is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed (about thirty-five minutes). Finally, season the tender vegetables with shoyu and mirin (if desired), and cook a few minutes more. Hijiki is delicious when sautéed with sweet vegetables such as carrots, slow-cooked onions, winter squash, lotus root, shiitake, and dried daikon radish. Hijiki is also wonderful when served with deep-fried fresh tofu or when sautéed with dried tofu. A little chopped hijiki can be combined with cooked rice, millet, or barley. Hijiki and arame are good additions to salads, especially when topped with a tofu dressing.
Hijiki With Dried Tofu and Vegetables
This colorful combination of hijiki, carrots, and parsley is delicious and appealing. Dried tofu supplies additional concentrated nutrition and an interesting texture. Mirin lightens the flavor and provides a mild sweetness.
1 1/4 cups (1.76-ounce package) dried Mitoku Hijiki
Water to cover hijiki
2 teaspoons Mitoku Virgin Sesame Oil
4 pieces Mitoku Snow-Dried tofu
1 1/2-2 tablespoons Mitoku Johson Shoyu (to taste)
1 tablespoon Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
1 carrot, cut into julienne strips
2-3 tablespoons minced parsley
In a bowl, place hijiki and water to cover. Let soak 10 minutes. Drain and briefly rinse hijiki to remove any sand and shells. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add hijiki, and sauté 1-2 minutes. Add fresh water to almost cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer.
Reconstitute dried tofu by soaking it in lukewarm water for 5 minutes. Repeatedly dampen and squeeze out excess water until the liquid that comes out is no longer milky. Dice tofu, add it to the frying pan, and toss. Simmer for 25 minutes. Add soy sauce and mirin, and toss together with hijiki and tofu. Place carrots on top of hijiki mixture, cover, and let cook 10 minutes more. Toss. If any liquid remains, cook uncovered over high heat a few minutes until nearly dry. Sprinkle parsley on top, cover, and steam 1 minute. Serve hot.
Hijiki Summer Salad
This salad is a wonderful way to get mineral-rich hijiki into your diet.
1/2 cup dried Mitoku Boshu Hijiki, cold water to cover hijiki
1 tablespoon Mitoku Johson Shoyu
Pinch Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
3 ears fresh corn
1/2 cup shelled green peas
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup grated carrots
4 tablespoons Brown Mustard
2 tablespoons sesame butter or tahini
3 tablespoons Mitoku Kyushu Brown Rice Vinegar
1/2 cup spring water
Soak hijiki 10 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking water, and rinse hijiki in a colander. Slice into 1 1/2 inch lengths. Slowly pour soaking water into a pot (discarding any sediment). Add hijiki and, if necessary, fresh water to almost cover. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes. Add shoyu and cook until water has evaporated (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring another pot of water to a boil, add pinch of salt and corn cobs. Simmer 15 minutes. Take corn from water, allow to cool, then remove kernels from cobs. In the same water, boil the peas 10 minutes, and then the bean sprouts 1 minute. Place on a plate to cool after cooking. In a serving bowl, mix hijiki, corn, peas, bean sprouts, and raw carrot. Blend dressing ingredients together until smooth, then add dressing to salad. Mix well before serving.
|Cucumber Hijiki Salad|
This salad is a very nutritious accompaniment to many main dishes without having to spend much time or effort. It gives you an easy and tasty way to enjoy the healthy benefits of seaweed more often. Tips: This salad is best salted right before serving. The salt will draw out the water from the cucumbers and dilute the flavor.
1 TBS Mitoku Boshu Hijiki
3 cups cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 medium tomato, seeds and excess pulp removed, sliced
1 TBS minced scallion green or green onions
3 TBS Mitoku Sweet Brown Rice Vinegar
2 TBS Mitoku Johsen Shoyu
1/2 TBS finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
extra virgin olive oil to taste
Masu 100% Sea Water Salt Salt
white pepper to taste
Rinse and soak hijiki in warm water while preparing rest of ingredients.
Peel cucumber and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a small spoon and slice thin.
Cut tomato in half crosswise and squeeze out seeds. Quarter and cut out excess pulp. Cut into slices about 1/2 inch wide.
Whisk rest of ingredients together. Squeeze out excess water from seaweed. Chop if necessary. You don't want hijiki pieces to be too large. Toss everything together and serve immediately.