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While it’s always played a significant role in East Asian cuisine, seaweed has yet to catch on in Western diets. But this is likely to change. Diners want low-calorie, nutrient dense foods and many health-conscious diners want new, exciting ingredients to include in their meals. Seaweed could very well be that ingredient. Here’s a short introduction to the various types of seaweed available and the flavours they offer the intrepid Chef! Get inspired!

Wakame

Wakame
This could be the most versatile edible sea vegetable on this list. It’s found in many coastal areas around the world, and has also been nominated as one of the world’s most invasive species (even more reason to eat it then).

This dark green plant has a subtle sweet flavour and it’s often sold as dried or salted. Wakame is often used as the main component in seaweed salads, and is used in Japanese and Korean soups. It’s high in vitamins and minerals and low in calories.

Kombu
This edible kelp is sold, dried or pickled in vinegar and is also one of the three main ingredients in Japanese soup stock. This is a dark, greenish-brown plant that is used to bring out the true flavour of other foods (it’s used to prepare a seasoning for sushi rice for example). Simmer in soy sauce and mirin and enjoy on its own or use the powdered form to brew Kombucha.

Nori
If you’re a fan of sushi, you’ll already know all about Nori. It’s used as a wrap for sushi rolls and onigiri and as a garnish in various soups – most commonly ramen. Nori is a species of red algae, and is made by shredding edible seaweed and pressing it into dark green or black, thin, dried sheets. Delicious when used to wrap salmon and rice into a tempting hand roll!

Dulse
Could this be the next version of kale? Dulse is a reddish-purple seaweed that – wait for it – tastes like bacon. In addition to this exciting news, dulse contains all the trace elements needed by humans and has a high protein content. It’s usually dried and sold in whole-leaf form, flakes or even found as a seasoning mix. Delicious and nutritious, we think this is going to make it as the next big superfood.

Irish Moss
Also known as carrageen (from the Irish word, “little rock”), Irish moss is not moss – it is a seaweed. It’s most often used as a thickener or stabiliser in ice creams and processed foods. In Ireland and Scotland, it’s boiled in milk and strained before adding sugar and other flavourings (vanilla, brandy and cinnamon) to make a sort of tapioca, or it’s made into bread.

Arame
This is a brown Japanese kelp that has a sweet, mild flavour. Chefs can sauté soaked arame and serve with vegetables for a delicious side dish. Also packed full of vitamins and minerals, this is a great and healthy options for beginners.