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Cooking with Wakame Seaweed

wakame compositionWakame has a mild taste that gives it great versatility. In Asian cuisine, you may find it floating in miso soup, but in the west, Wakame is also commonly used to add interest, a nutritional boost and fibre to meals.

It has a spinach-like flavour with a fresh sea aftertaste; the texture  is silky with a gentle bite to it. Wakame doesn’t need to be cooked, in fact keeping it raw has the advantage of keeping all the vitamins & natural enzymes intact. Dehydrated wakame can just be added to soups or quickly re-hydrated to make salads or added to a variety of dishes as a vegetable ingredient.

To rehydrate wakame, soak it in water for a few minutes (3-5); it will expand 6-10 times. To change the taste or add ‘zing’ to a recipe, soak wakame in stock, herbal/fruit tea or flavoured water. Wakame preserves best in its dry state so only soak what you need. The soaking water is sweet and full of nutrients; it’s nice to consume on its own or used as a base for smoothies, stews or soups.

Visit our recipe section for culinary inspiration, but below are some simple ideas to get you started:

  1. Stir-fries: Add the re-hydrated leaves/fronds to a stir fry with soba noodles, fish, mushrooms, daikon and other vegetables
  2. Asian style salads: Rehydrate the seaweed and add sesame seeds and a simple Asian dressing to create the delicious seaweed salad you can buy in sushi shops
  3. Poke Bowls and Soups: Combine with noodles, grains, shrimp and avocado for a filling and nutritious meal. Make your own miso soup!
  4. Potatoes/Fish Cakes and Baking: Add the chopped leaves to mashed potato as a side dish or  to croquettes or potato patties. Even to biscuits!
  5. Wrapping Fish: Use the full leaves to wrap around fish before steaming or baking for a succulent finish.

Wakame (also known as Undaria) is not native in New Zealand but it grows well here. Pacific Harvest offers Wakame fronds (farmed sustainably in Korea) or Wild Wakame leaves from New Zealand.

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