Hijiki is a very common ingredient in Japanese cooking, and is full of nutrients including dietary fiber, iron, calcium and magnesium. In the wild, this type of seaweed is often found along rocky coastlines. In Japanese cuisine, hijiki and carrots are a classic combination. Not only is the salty hijiki balanced by the sweetness in the carrots, but the black color of the hijiki is balanced by the bright orange of the julienned carrots.
Serving the hjiki and carrots over a bowl of cooked rice and tofu and finishing with a garnish of green onions, adds five elemental colors to a classic dish. Balance and presentation are core components of Japanese cuisine.
Hijiki can be found in most Asian supermarkets, and is purchased dried, thus it needs to be rehydrated before using. One thing to keep in mind is that hijiki expands to 3-5 times its volume once rehydrated, so a little goes a long way. The recipe below comes via the NYTimes and substitutes sprouted brown rice for the traditional japonica rice. Sprouted brown rice is rice that has begun the process of germination, which greatly increases the amino acids and adds a a nice nutty, slightly sweet flavor.
Hijiki and Carrots with Sprouted Brown Rice
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried hijiki (expands to about 1/4 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, julienned (cut into 2″ matchstick sized sticks)
- 2 tsp. + 1 tsp. peanut oil (can substitute canola oil)
- 1/2 lb. firm tofu, cut into domino-sized rectangles
- 1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, preferably tamari (more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp. mirin
- 1 tsp. dark sesame oil
- 2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups cooked sprouted brown rice
- Green onions, angled slices for garnish
- Soak the hijiki in a medium bowl of warm water for 20 minutes. While re-hydrating the hijiki, julienne the carrots. Cut the tofu into 1/4″ by 1″ rectangles, press between towels to remove excess moisture. Meanwhile, drain the hijiki, rinse and pat try with towels.
- Heat a skillet over high heat, add 2 teaspoons peanut oil and sauté the tofu until lightly colored, about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook other side for a minute. Remove and set aside.
- In the heated skillet, add a teaspoon of oil and hijiki, stir constantly and cook until aromatic, about one minute. Add carrots and minced ginger, mix and cook for another minute.
- Whisk soy sauce and mirin in a small bowl, add to skillet along with sesame oil and stir. Turn down heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add tofu back and cook for another minute.
- Spoon hijiki, carrots and tofu over a bowl of hot rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and garnish with green onions.