Posted in Recipes

Kombu Tsukudani (A Japanese Seaweed Relish)

Kombu Tsukudani 1

This dish is a Japanese preparation, very much like certain sort of Korean Banchan, which uses the edible seaweed known as Kombu for its main ingredient. Like its Korean counterparts, it keeps very well, can be used as a cold side-dish, and is particularly good as a flavorful topping for plain rice. It is not the prettiest dish in the world, perhaps, but it certainly packs a lot of flavor…  Continue reading “Kombu Tsukudani (A Japanese Seaweed Relish)”

Posted in Recipes

Dashi – Japanese Sea-stock

Dashi 1

In Japanese culinary parlance, Dashi, in the strictest sense, simply refers to a stock typically made from seaweed, mushrooms, dried fish, or a combination of these. Unless the type is actually specified, however, the bare term ‘Dashi’ means a stock made from Kombu and Katsuobushi. This very basic preparation is used in countless Japanese dishes including soups, hotpot or stewed dishes (nabemono) and a variety of sauces. Accordingly, it is one of the very cornerstones of the national cuisine…  Continue reading “Dashi – Japanese Sea-stock”

Posted in Foodstuffs

Edible Seaweed: Kombu (and How to make Kombu Dashi)

Kombu 1

You may, at one time or another, when walking on the shore, have come across a variety of large, ribbon-like seaweed cast up on the shore, possibly with the olive-green fronds still attached to a thick, rope-like stem. For years, I knew the basic type simply as ‘Kelp’ but, point of fact, that name actually includes a whole range of very different seaweeds (many of which are edible) and the sort you see pictured above is more properly referred to by its Japanese name ‘Kombu’ ( or, less frequently, ‘Konbu’).

This edible algae (of which there are a number of different varieties) is not widely used in western cuisines but it is very popular indeed in the far east. It is harvested and eaten in Korea, and used to a lesser extent by the Chinese, but it is in Japanese cookery where the seaweed really shines. Indeed, Kombu is more than an occasional ingredient;  it is an essential item in the Japanese pantry and, as we shall see below, is a foundation stone in the cuisine as a whole…  Continue reading “Edible Seaweed: Kombu (and How to make Kombu Dashi)”