hijiki with carrots
recently i've been cooking a lot from deborah madison's vegetarian cooking for everyone . i've had this book tucked away on a grimy kitchen shelf ever since it first came out, years ago, at which time i gave it a rather perfunctory once over. the recipes seemed too simple, maybe even bland. i hate bland. so there it sat, unopened, unloved and forgotten until my mountain-man, brush-burning, shorts-wearing-all-year-round, house-building, firewood-chopping dad, whose culinary expertise (when i was a kid) ranged from plain, oven-baked chicken wings served with a side of unpeeled carrot sticks to something called "hungarian goulash", which was neither hungarian nor goulash, but a rather white-trash concoction of macaroni, hamburger and tomato sauce. what was i saying? oh yeah, this cookbook was largely ignored until my dads mentioned a recipe from this tome that he particularly likes. now, if there is one thing dads doesn't like, it's bland. he needs to be internally warmed by spice and garlic induced fires in order to wear those shorts in the dead of winter, i guess. i was skeptical but i glanced at the recipe (called chickpeas with tomatoes and potatoes, how unsexy is that?) and since i had all the ingredients on hand i decided to give it a try. the end result was utterly simple, clean tasting and delicious. it introduced me to one of my new favorite spices, corriander. i should mention that i, of course, increased the garlic and corriander.
since then i've made several recipes from the book and although some dishes have turned out a bit bland for me, the majority have been hits. it's really made me reconsider my "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to cooking.
following is deborah madison's recipe for hijiki seaweed with carrots and ginger. normally when i make this hijiki dish, i make it as my japanese moms taught me, using sugar and mirin, sliced shitake and aburrage (fried tofu puffs)...see what i mean by the kitchen sink? this preparation is simpler, not at all sweet (which is a nice change), and gets a real vibrancy from the sheer quantity of fresh ginger. it goes very well with brown rice cooked with shitake mushrooms and seaweed stock.
hijiki with carrots
2 cups dried hijiki
1-2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 Tablespoons slivered ginger
3 carrots, julienned
soy sauce to taste
salt to taste
sesame seeds to garnish
in a bowl cover the dried hijiki with water and soak for about 15 minutes. drain and place in a saucepan, adding enough water to just cover and 2 Tablespoons soy sauce. simmer for 15 minutes or until soft and drain. heat a large skillet heat the sesame seed oil* and stir fry carrots and ginger for about 2 minutes. add seaweed and cook for an additional five minutes. add 1 Tablespoon soy sauce and remove from heat. adjust salt and soysauce to taste. sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
*if you're trying to watch your fat intake, you can also "steam fry" dishes using a splash of water instead of oil, adding just enough from time to time to prevent burning. after removing from heat you can add a few drops of sesame seed oil for flavor.