Nutritious Seaweed Soup
Quick and easy, this just takes 10 minutes and is packed full of vitamins and minerals.
3 pieces dried kelp (presoak)
4 spring onions (chopped)
1 stick celery (diced)
1 carrot (diced)
1 pack tofu (or cooked chicken)
2 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
Gently fry spring onions, celery & carrot in a little butter or oil then add cold water. Add presoaked mushrooms & seaweed and cubed tofu (or chicken). Bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season, if needed, with miso or soy sauce.
Try adding some pak choi, spinach of kale leaves to the simmering stage.
For a spicy version fry a little diced chilli pepper, garlic or fresh ginger sticks with the onions.
Gather your own seaweed
The kelp sold in store is usually called Japanese kombu Laminaria japonica. All around the British coast we have Laminaria digitata often called oarweed or just kelp. It has long rubbery fronds and is often cast up on the beaches. However, if you walk out at a low tide you can gather this fresh from where it grows on the rocks when it is exposed at low water. Cut some of the fronds off with scissors (so you don't damage the stipe ('roots') that it is attached to the rocks with). Just rinse in clean seawater and hang up on a line to dry as soon as you can. If you do leave it in a bag overnight it may require a further rinse in fresh water as it will exude a little gel.
Once the strips are dry, store them in an airtight container and use them in soups, stews and casseroles. With short cooking times you may need to remove them, just like you would remove a bay leaf, as they may be a little chewy. With longer cooking times they will become tender and nutritious.
The gel that kelp gives off is called alginate. It has been proven that alginates improve satiety. That means that they make you feel fuller as they swell slightly in your stomach, so you naturally eat smaller portions. They also help to thicken your sauces without the further addition of flour.
Cooking with seaweed provides a host of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, trace nutrients and most importantly, iodine. Find out why iodine is so essential to the body and what health hazard you face if you don't have it.