CZ cooks: with kombu

By Claudia Zapata | 2013-10-17 00:43:00 | 0 Comments

photo 2-5I want to like sea vegetables.  I really do. Nutrient dense veggies from the sea are among the world’s most excellent sources of minerals, including iodine, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, copper and zinc. They’re a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K and folate; have anti-inflammatory properties; and sea vegetables’ unique antioxidants may play a role in the prevention of certain cancers.

But, while Asian cultures have been cooking with sea vegetable for centuries, I’m a fish out of water when it comes to enjoying seaweed (even in my sushi).

Rather than dive right in, I am testing the ocean waters. Slowly. Like dipping a toe in the water kind of slowly.

A friend suggests adding a strip of kombu in a pot when cooking beans. Hmmm. This I can do.

With plans to make red curry lentils (a recipe you must try), I have the perfect opportunity to use kombu, a dried kelp used often in Japanese cooking. Just like she says, I place a piece of kombu in the pot with the lentils and remove it after cooking.

In addition to boosting mineral content, the ocean plant adds what the Japanese call umami flavor (savory) and makes beans more digestible (why haven’t I known about this?). And? The lentils are delicious.

Next: I’m getting in waist-deep with an arame salad.

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