Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wakame Sesame Salad / Goma Wakame

Sea vegetables have become familiar to many Americans over the last few decades, thanks to the increased availability and popularity of Asian foods. Wakame salad with sesame seeds ("goma wakame") is not a fast food recipe, but it's fun to make and enthusiastically appreciated by those to whom it is offered. (Hint: make a lot). Although this recipe calls for 1-1/2 ounces of dried wakame, I usually just measure it roughly by the handful; the exact amount isn't important.

1-1/2 ounces dried wakame sea vegetable (about 3 handfuls)
2 sweet red peppers, sliced into thin strips
2 or 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, sliced very fine
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small red hot chile peppers, sliced into fine strips (optional)
4 tablespoons freshly toasted sesame seeds

Rinse the wakame in cool water and place in a stainless steel bowl. Cover with fresh water and allow to rehydrate for about 5 minutes. Drain wakame and squeeze out excess water with your hands. Slice wakame on a clean wooden cutting board into very thin strips with a sharpened vegetable knife. (The thick central stems of the wakame can be reserved for later use in vegetable soup or stew). Place wakame, sweet pepper slices, and chopped cilantro in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except the sesame seeds. Pour dressing over the wakame mixture and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning. The salad will keep well for a day or so in the fridge. Just before serving, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. (See previous post for toasted sesame seed recipe).

Note: If you don't have sweet red peppers, try using cucumbers or carrots, thinly sliced, instead.