Hijiki Itame: Stir Fried Hijiki Seaweed with Greens and Sesame Sauce
WARNING: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recently found unacceptably high levels of inorganic arsenic in Hijiki seaweed. They recommend you don’t eat it at all. (Warning added August 10, 2010)
Here’s a dish I first tried in Milan, of all places! Visiting one of my favorite Japanese artists, we were invited for dinner and presented with this heavenly, super-healthy dish of greens, Hijiki seaweed and sesame sauce. At my husband’s salivating insistence, I pressed our host for this recipe, and we’ve been making it in heavy rotation ever since.
Delicious though it is, I include it in the blog with trepidation. I’m well aware that finding Hijiki outside Japan is often very difficult, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, the sesame sauce (goma dare) can be tough to find, too.
The long and the short of it is that if you live in a big city with lots of Asian people, you have a chance: cross your fingers and ask for hijiki and goma dare by name at a well-stocked Japanese/Korean store. If you don’t live somewhere like Toronto or LA…I’m afraid this recipe’s not for you.
In honor of having discovered this dish in Italy, we usually use Cima di Rapa for the greens. But you could also make it with kale, chicory or mustard greens.
Ingredients (for four):
- Dried Hijiki seaweed – 6 tablespoons
- Greens – one big bunch. Use Cima di Rapa, kale, chicory or mustard greens
- Sesame oil – two tablespoons
- Cooking Sake – one tablespoon
- Salt – a pinch
- Soy sauce – two teaspoons
- Goma dare – sesame-based sauce. We usually use store-bought, but if you’re really obsessive you can make it at home using the sauce recipe here.
- Optional: Katsuobushi flakes
- Optional: Tofu (“cotton” tofu, not silken)
- Place hijiki in a large amount of hot water for half an hour, to recompose.
Remember to use a big container: the hijiki’s volume will expand dramatically in the water.
- Drain the hijiki and run under a bit of water
- Chop the Greens coarsely
- Heat a large pan over medium heat, add two tablespoons of sesame oil
- Stir fry the greens until soft (time will depend on the type of green you’re using)
- Once soft, add the recomposed Hijiki
- Stir fry for another couple of minutes over high heat
- Add sake, salt, and the soy sauce, mix thoroughly
- (If you have Tofu, cut tofu in cubes and add, cook a little bit )
- (If you have Katsuobushi, turn off the heat, add the flakes and mix well)
click to enlarge
Serve hot. Put some goma-dare sauce on the table, pour generously on top of the hijiki.
A spectacular side dish we enjoyed the other night with beer, rice and Japanese barbecue – meat grilled at the table!