asian recipes, healthy food, seafood, seaweed, diet, delicious, health, nutrition, japanese

The New Seafood: Cooking with Seaweed

Gourmet seafood isn't just fish, calamari, crab, lobster, shrimp and other shellfish. Plants from the sea are becoming a culinary craze all across the country and are cropping up on menus at some of the finest restaurants around the world. Seaweed can be a delicious addition to your diet, and one that offers incredible health benefits at the same time.

The Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed

Seaweed has long been a staple of Asian and Scandinavian cooking, where aquatic freshwater and saltwater plants are readily available. Now, more and more people are adding seaweed to recipes, largely for the health benefits of the plants. A single serving of seaweed provides more immune system-boosting vitamin C than a serving of orange, grapefruit and other citrus fruits. In addition, seaweed is a natural source of vitamin D, providing more than what's found in a glass of milk. A serving of seaweed also treats your body to iron needed for producing healthy red blood cells, iodine for supporting thyroid function and the essential immune system mineral zinc. You'll also get a heaping dose of omega-3 fatty acids, the essential healthy fats that many people take fish and krill oil capsules to treat their bodies to get the benefits of.

Types of Seaweed for Cooking

There are many types of seaweed available at Asian food stores and online with which to experiment in recipes. The three most commonly used types are:

  • Nori - these Japanese algae is usually sold as a dry-food in sheets. If you've ever eaten a maki sushi roll, you'll quickly recognize the crispy blackish-green seaweed as the wrapper most commonly used by sushi chefs.
  • Kombu - Made up of broad leaves, kombu is a staple in Japanese cuisine and can be purchased fresh or as a dry-food.
  • Wakame - Sold as a dry-food and then rehydrated, this type of seaweed has a bright green color and a flavor that is slightly sweet.

Ways to Enjoy Seaweed

There are a number of ways that you can enjoy seaweed at home. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Take sheets of nori and bake them in the oven as a potato chip alternative that is great for dipping and rich in vitamins and minerals.
  2. Add a small bit of kombu to a sauce to bring a touch of unique flavor.
  3. Use crumbled nori in marinades for fish, chicken or seafood.
  4. Rehydrate wakame and serve it in an Asian dressing with octopus, shrimp or crab for a DIY version of a seaweed salad.
  5. Crisp kombu in a skillet and then crumble it. Use it in place of salt on all types of foods for delicious, healthy seasoning.
  6. Soak wakame and add it to a stir-fry with mushrooms, vegetables and your favorite protein like seafood or chicken.

Adding seaweed to your diet will please your palate and supply your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Don't be afraid to experiment. Dry-food seaweed is simple to work with and guaranteed to bring nutritious results.