Monday, February 06, 2006

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.

14 Comments:

Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Perfect. I just bought a bag of hijiki. I think Deborah Madison is a brilliant recipe writer, by the way. One of the best things about her recipes is they are totally open to riffing. Another best thing is that she'll dare you to try flavor combinations you hadn't thought of.
xx

3:12 PM  
Blogger obachan said...

Mmmmm... this looks great, and so different from what I'm used to. I've never ever thought about cooking hijiki without sugar.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous tasha said...

I love chickepeas... I love coriander... mmm... that dish sounds delish. Would it be possible to share the recipe? Thank you.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous ashley said...

do you have a cherry blossom cookie-type cutter? if so, where'd you find such a gem?

everything looks so pretty!

12:50 PM  
Blogger rae said...

ashley: the cutters come in a variety of flowery type shapes and you can find them in just about any japanese or asian grocery store. if you don't have one nearby you can find them online here. be forwarned that they're designed for vegetables and are pretty small - maybe not the best thing for cookies unless you like 'em tiny...

2:27 PM  
Anonymous ashley said...

thanks! I'd be using them on vegetables, not cookies. "cookie cutter" just came to mind when thinking of what to call them!

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Jason Truesdell said...

I usually use a bit of sweetened rice wine called mirin when making this dish, and no ginger. It's also nice with fresh fava beans or cooked soybeans, and I often add a bit of sliced abura-age (fried soy puffs).

I suspect 2 cups of dried hijiki is a pretty large amount, though; I usually only use about a quarter cup or half cup to serve several people, since it expands so much during soaking in water.

In Japan it's usually just a small side dish.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Harmonia said...

Intersting!

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Jason Truesdell said...

Oh, somehow I didn't notice the paragraph where you explained nearly the same thing as I did. Grr. I'm a little brain-dead after this little cold.

12:57 PM  
Blogger vegancore said...

Those carrot stars are absolutely adorable!

9:18 AM  
Blogger rae said...

jason: yeah, two cups IS a lot of seaweed and it puffs right up just like you say, but this makes a lot, and if you're a seaweed freak like myself, chowing it down is no problem. having said that, it probably IS a good idea to start out smaller at first...

harmonia: if you haven't tried hijiki you should consider it - good for you and tasty like the sea without the fish! plus, mashed up with chickpeas and fake mayo (totally optional) it makes a great fake tuna sandwich filling.

vegancore: i love using the cutters for daikon and carrots in miso soup too.

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