Wakame is an edible seaweed, and it is virtually fat-free, low calorie and is one of the richest source of minerals in the vegetable kingdom. According to Seibin and Teruko Arasaki, authors of Vegetables from the Sea, “All of the minerals required by human beings, including calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, iodine, iron, and zinc are present in sufficient amounts. In addition, there are many trace elements in seaweeds.”
Wakame has a subtly sweet flavour and is most often served in soups and salads. Sea-farmers have grown it in Japan from the Nara period.
In Japan and Europe, wakame is distributed either dried or salted, and used in soups (particularly miso soup), and salads (tofu salad), or often simply as a side dish to tofu and a salad vegetable like cucumber. These dishes are typically dressed with soy/sesame sauce and rice vinegar.
Wakame fronds are green and have a subtly sweet flavour and satiny texture. Tip: the leaves should be cut into small pieces as they will expand during cooking. This salad is super crunchy and refreshing!
3⁄4 ounce dried wakame seaweed (whole or cut)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Soak seaweed in warm water to cover, 5 minutes. Drain, rinse then squeeze out excess water. If wakame is uncut, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Stir together vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add the seaweed, scallions, carrots, and cilantro, tossing to combine well. Sprinkle salad with sesame seeds.
Ingredients for the asparagus: