I have to say, that eating seaweed has never been at the top of my personal ‘to do’ list, but I have warmed to it recently.
There are many kinds of seaweed, and if you’re already a connoisseur, you can skip this bit.
If seaweed is new to you, then I would suggest that the two best types of seaweed to begin with could be Arame and Nori.
The following recipe includes both.
Arame is a lovely mild flavoured seaweed that looks like tiny thin ribbons and has a mild gentle taste. It can be added to all sorts of things, particularly salads and soups.
Nori often comes in sheets, and is commonly associated with sushi.
There are many other seaweeds which I will explore in future blogs, some of which may well be a bit of an acquired taste.
The soup I’m offering here, is a gentle, carminative, soothing soup, packed with amino acids, minerals, trace elements and enzymes. It’s full of goodness. Great if you’re feeling under the weather.
Also, if you’re interested in fasting as part of a healthy diet regime, then this would be a nice soup with which to break a fast.
It also contains ingredients that could well become a regular part of a healthy vegan diet, used in one form or another.
Miso, of Japanese origin, is a fermented bean or grain paste. It comes in many colours and flavours. For this recipe I used a hearty dark rice miso and a sweet white rice+soya miso.
Combining ingredients from Japan, with Peruvian organic Quinoa; regarded by many as a ‘superfood’………. a recipe for a restorative, gently-flavoured and gently-cooked soup.
Recipe for Quinoa, Miso and Seaweed Soup, served with Baked Tofu and Toasted Ground Sesame Seeds and Nori
Ingredients: ( 4 servings)
- 200gms. firm tofu * ( the tofu needs marinading a couple of hours in advance of preparing the soup)
- 2tbs. tamari
- 2 tbs. mirin ( or 1 tbs cider vinegar and a dash of agave syrup)
- Juice half a lemon
- 120gms. quinoa
- 1200 ml. low-salt vegetable stock – (homemade or shop-bought)
- In a traditional Japanese Miso soup, Dashi stock is used and there are vegan versions of Dashi – both homemade, or bags/granules – if you can obtain this then please do use it.
- 8-10tbs. miso ( I used a mix of dark rice miso and sweet white rice and soya miso)
- 60ml water
- 10-15 gms. dried Arame
- 100ml water
- 2 sheets (approx. 180 x 180 ml) dried nori
- 20 gms. sesame seeds
- 2-3 tbs. tamari
- 2-3 tbs. mirin
- 1tbs rice vinegar ( or cider vinegar)
- dash of lemon juice (optional)
- Slice the tofu into 8 slices, and spread on a plate.
- Mix a marinade of tamari, mirin and lemon juice, and pour over the tofu.
- Leave for up to two hours.
Prepare the soup:
- Wash quinoa thoroughly, and drain.
- Take a heavy saucepan and put on a medium heat to warm the pan.
- When the pan is hot, add the quinoa, and dry-roast for up to 5 mins.
- The quinoa will dry out and eventually begin to pop. It will have a sweet nutty fragrance. Stir constantly to avoid burning.
- Then add 1200ml stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 30-35 mins.
- Put the arame in a small bowl, add 100ml of water, and allow it to soak.
- Place the marinaded tofu on a baking platter ( I used a sheet of parchment lightly oiled to avoid sticking). Reserve the marinade to add to the soup.
- Put the tofu in a pre-heated oven, Gas Mk.5/ 190C for 20-30mins until golden on top.
- Take a small skillet, put it on a high heat, and dry-roast sesame seeds for about 1 min. They should have a nutty fragrance, but mustn’t burn. Switch off the heat and leave the seeds in the pan to cool.
- Cut the Nori sheets in half, lay out on a grill pan and grill under a medium heat for 1-2 mins. on each side, until the sheets crinkles up and turn slightly brown. Keep an eye on them, as they burn easily.
- Remove Nori from heat and allow to cool.
- In a small bowl, mix miso and 100ml. water to a smooth paste.
When the quinoa is cooked, keep it on a very low heat (use a heat diffuser if possible) and add:
- The arame, with the soaking water. Stir in.
- The marinade juice. Stir in.
- The miso paste. Stir in. If miso is brought to the boil, it will lose much of its goodness.
- Then add tamari, mirin and vinegar to taste.
- A little lemon juice (optional).
- Stir in and taste. Adjust accordingly. This soup is full of mild and complex flavours, it’s worth being careful not to let any one flavour overpower it.
- Cover, and allow to warm through on the lowest heat possible for 8-10 mins.
- Switch off the heat, and leave to stand for 5 mins.
- Put the toasted sesame seeds and grilled nori in a blender, or a pestle and mortar and grind until fine. Place in a small bowl for serving.
Spoon out the soup, layer two slices of baked tofu in the middle, and sprinkle amply with sesame/nori powder.