Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kelp Salad

Kelp salad.

Yup, kelp. Those big ribbons of seaweed you find growing especially well off the North Western coast of the US (Oregan & Washington) and other temperate waters. The Japanese call it kombu and the Chinese hai dai (sea belts). My Cantonese mom never cooked kelp but my Shanghainese MIL often serves kelp salad as a cold side dish so I suppose this is a Shanghainese dish.

When you are sick of fried food and you want something to chew but not give you any calories, make a kelp salad. Not only is kelp calorie-free (except for the sesame oil you use to dress it with), it has high levels of iodine, an element we need to prevent thyroidism, that awful condition where your eyes bulge like goldfishes' and your throat looks like you've swallowed a football but the doctor tells you it's a goiter. Of course these days we get enough iodine in our salt but if you live away from the sea and you don't use sea salt or iodised salt and you feel restless and anxious and your jowl drops to your collarbone, eat some kelp and other seaweed now and then.

Kelp comes dried and tied in small bundles. One bundles costs only RM1/US$0.30 (just a few years ago it was 50 sen) and that makes lots of kelp salad. It stores well for an indefinite amount of time but only if there's low humidity or it'll get moldy. Dried kelp usually comes with a layer of whitish powder which I think is salt. Kelp is not only eaten as is; it can be used to make jelly powder and thicken ice creams.

Those who haven't eaten kelp before will be grossed out because it is slightly slimy and briny in flavor. But I like it. It has a texture between a crunch and a chew and I eat it like I eat noodles. That's because a doctor once told me I was developing a goiter. I ran to my family doctor who measured my neck and he assured me that the girth of my neck was normal. Still, I make sure I eat kelp now and then.

You can make this a fancy kelp salad by adding roasted and minced dried shrimps, chopped garlic and coriander/cilantro leaves but I'm used to my MIL's simple kelp salad of just kelp, sesame oil and Maggi soy sauce. Sesame seeds and spring onions are optional. This salad is best eaten very cold.


Kelp Salad
sesame oil
Maggi or other tasty light soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onions to garnish

1. Soak the kelp in lots of water for an hour. It will swell by 10 times or more. Wash under running water, then soak and rinse twice times more until no more sand is left in the bottom of your soaking basin.

2. Put the kelp in a large basin or container and add enough warm water and a couple of white vinegar (MIL said this is to stop the slime coming out but I don't find it any different from if I don't use vinegar so it's up to you) for 1 hour.

3. Drain very well. If kelp is in one long piece, cut it every 10 cm (4 ") and stack 2 or 3 on top of each other. Roll into a tight scroll and cut into small (1/2 cm) strips.

4. Soak the cut kelp in very cold water and drain very well. Keep in fridge to chill.

5. When needed, take some kelp out, put into a bowl and add sesame oil and light soy sauce to your taste. It should taste a bit more saltier than your usual dish. Transfer the dressed kelp onto a serving plate. The idea is to make sure the kelp does not sit in the liquid that comes out which would dilute the seasoning. Garnish and serve cold.


Anonymous said...

thank you! another receipe for CNY :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri, where can I buy the kelp in KK?


Term Papers said...

Appreciated salad recipe, I'll must try my hand on it.

Zurin said...

beautiful salad fave colours!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Terri,
May I know where you can buy kelp in KK?Thank you.

terri@adailyobsession said...

anon: welcome:)

rc, anna: in chinese grocery shops and herbal shops. i got mine from the chinese herbal shop in lido, but there's plenty at thai seng near kian kok. they place the kelp in a box outside the shop. i'll get some more kelp and post a photo of the kelp b4 rehydration so youi know how it looks like.

Term papers said...

I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.

Custom Home Detailing said...

The Kelp Salad really look good. Thank you for sharing all the information.

Unknown said...

Seaweed is used extensively by Koreans. They eat them like a side dish or even dry which is called gim. Check it out when you come across any oriental supermarket. Especially gim is brillian for wrapping food and eating it like tortilas but much thinner and less carbs. auto insurance quotes

Cincinnati International Airport said...

Wow this is such a great share. I like this blog. I am looking forward!

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