These last few days have been so mind-boggling and depressing. It’s always difficult to resume writing about unrelated stuff in times like these because it all seems so superficial and disconnected. Still, here’s a short review for one seriously great book along with a recipe I’ve been meaning to post for quite a while.
Seaweed and I have never seen eye to eye, even though I’ve tried really hard to love it. The only seaweed I have tolerated in small doses thus far are roasted nori sheets, hijiki (thanks to Joni‘s recipes), kombu (for dashi), and agar. The latter mostly because it has no taste, and also because it’s kind of a superhero when it comes to firming things up vegan-style.
So when the opportunity arose to review Ocean Greens: Explore the World of Edible Seaweed and Sea Vegetables by Lisette Kreischer and Marcel Schuttelaar, I hemmed and hawed before saying yes.
I really shouldn’t have hesitated: it turns out my copy is already looking worn because I browse through it and use it so frequently. The book offers a lovely image for each recipe, and a lot of informative notes with introductions to all different types of seaweed. Do you wonder if there’s a limit to how much seaweed one should consume each day? Or if all seaweed is safe for eating? It’s all covered in the book.
And of course, 50 innovative recipes to showcase how versatile seaweed can be. Off the top of my head, here are a few great ones: Cheesy ‘Weed Sauce, Avocado & ‘Weed Hummus, Eggplant Caviar, Wakame & Date Tapenade, Sea Chowder & Shiitake Bacon, Cut the Crab Salad, Seaweed Gnocchi, Wakame Noodles with Spicy Tofu, Squash & Seaweed Pancakes, Sailor’s Bread, Decadent Chlorella & Blackberry Yogurt, Spirulina & Strawberry Popsicles. And no, it’s not your imagination: there’s even a birthday cake recipe!
I still have a lot of recipes to try, but the ones I have tasted so far have been fantastic. I’ll admit I stuck with those in which the seaweed flavor is rather subtle. I’m considering it a success, especially since I’ve already ordered new-to-me types of seaweed to explore the more adventurous recipes from this book.
The publisher invited me to share a recipe here, and I picked a good one for seaweed-scaredy cats like me. I served the delicious tofu cubes inside folded kimchi and scallion crispy rice pancakes, along with vegetables cooked in the marinade leftover from the tofu prep. PS: I used super firm tofu because no pressing is required and laziness can be a good thing.
Tofu with Seaweed Crunch
18 ounces (500 g) firm tofu
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch (2.5 cm) fresh ginger, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
Juice of 1 lime
¹/3 cup (50 g) flour
¹/3 cup (50 g) sesame seeds
2 tablespoons aonori (nori flakes) or crumble or cut one nori sheet into fine flakes
Olive or sunflower oil for panfrying
1. Drain the tofu and gently pat dry with paper towels. Cut the tofu into 1-inch (2 cm) cubes.
2. In a bowl, combine the maple syrup and soy sauce with the garlic, ginger, cumin, and lime juice. Mix in the tofu, making sure that all cubes are covered with the mixture. Cover the bowl and set aside in the fridge to marinate for at least two hours (overnight is even better).
3. The next day, separate the tofu from the excess marinade (you can keep it as a dip). Mix together the flour, sesame seeds, and anori. Dredge the tofu cubes in the flour mixture, giving them a good coating.
4. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Panfry the tofu until golden brown on all sides, flipping occasionally. Spoon the cubes onto a plate lined with paper towels and allow to drain.
Recipe from Ocean Greens: Explore the World of Edible Seaweed and Sea Vegetables by Lisette Kreischer and Marcel Schuttelaar. © Kosmos Uitgevers Utrecht/Antwerpen 2015, 2016. Translation © Maria M. Reimer and Victor Verbeck, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. experimentpublishing.com