Hijiki seaweed and carrots are classic combination in Japanese cooking. This marriage of earth and sea is salty, sweet, pleasantly crunchy, and highly nutritious. Here's our version of this side dish, using some of the kumquats we've been buying at the farmers' market, but lemon juice or rice vinegar works, too. The basic recipe can also be enhanced with other ingredients such as tofu, edamame, or burdock root, and served with soba noodles or rice to make a more complete meal.
Dried hijiki may be found at Japanese and Korean markets and many health food stores, including Whole Foods.
Hijiki with Carrots Serves 2-4
1/2 cup dried hijiki seaweed 1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 1/2 cup julienned carrots 2 teaspoons sour citrus juice or rice vinegar 1/4 teaspoon sea salt White pepper, to taste Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Rinse hijiki to remove any sand. (If you don't have a fine mesh strainer, just swirl the seaweed around in a bowl of water, then drain.)
Place hijiki in a bowl with 1/2 cup warm water. Let soak for 15 minutes.
In a small saucepan, heat sesame oil over low-medium heat. Add carrots and cook until softened.
Add hijiki, citrus juice or vinegar, sea salt, and a dash of white pepper to the carrots. Heat through.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve warm or cool.