My family never cooked much with kelp. But I’ve started experimenting with it, even incorporating it into dishes I already make, and here are two I’ve tried which were very successful.
Stir-fried steamed aubergine with kelp
This is a dish I’ve made and written about before, but in this version I added sliced kelp which had already been used to make kombu dashi.
- 3 small-ish aubergines
- Amount of shredded kombu for 1 batch of dashi – if very long, cut finer in bowl with scissors
- 3 onions
- Some form of flavouring. I used chilli bean paste and oyster sauce. For vegetarian version, omit oyster sauce and use plain soy, or salt, or mushroom sauce.
- 1tbsp rice wine.
- Peel aubergines. The skin is too tough for this dish.
- Steam aubergines whole – this can be done in the microwave for 10-20 minutes. In a pressure cooker for 5 minutes, or over the hob or in a steamer for 10-20 minutes.
- Shred the aubergine as you would as if it were pulled pork. I used two forks. I think those bear claws thingies would have worked too.
- Heat oil in wok. Brown onions.
- Throw in kelp, and 1-2tsp of cilli bean paste. Stir fry for ~3 minutes.
- Throw in shredded aubergine. Stir fry for as long as needed for all the aubergine to fully cook and soften up. Depending on how well it was steamed, this may not be very long, or quite long. When the wok gets a bit too dry, add a splash of rice wine (alt: mirin, water, stock).
- Taste and adjust seasoning as required.
So where did the kombu come from? Well, one week when I was at Loon Fung I decided it was time to try the various seaweeds available. I bought dried wakame, dried hijiki and dried kombu (in sheets) from the japanese shelf, and I also bought hai dai si too. The wakame and hijiki worked as advertised in a seaweed salad. The hai dai si was a glutinous, slimy, unappetising, mess after soaking. I researched it and it appears that hai dai si is just kombu which has been shredded – and not an ingredient usually used in seaweed salad – but rather for making soup. In most of the kombu dashi recipes I read, it said to throw away the kombu after using, but in one or to the authors mentioned the kombu can then be used in other things. I don’t like throwing things or food away unnecessarily, so I came up with the above dish to use the used haidaisi.
The soup which I made was basically a ginseng chicken stock – just with the added seaweed. This is kept and turn into numerous rounds of ‘noodle soup’. Nothing fancy, and not well known like Pho or Ramen.. but just… noodles, in soup, a dish I’ve eaten many many times in many many variations. Modern hippy cooks might called it bone broth, but I really don’t like that term when my cantonese mother has taught me so many different ones and they are all called ‘soup’.