I’ve decided to be a pescatarian for a month, just to see if it will make me feel any different. I’m not a huge meat eater, but I consume it out of habit, without thinking. This month, I want to be deliberate about what I put into my body and part of this is making sure I’m getting the right nutrients.
Hijiki is a good source of fiber, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Seems like it should be eaten in moderation, though, since some scientists say it contains quantities of inorganic arsenic. This is meant as an accompaniment to other side dishes, so I’ve never worried about over consumption.
I’ve married two recipes here (adding more ingredients to the dish), but if you don’t have access to some of them, using what you have on hand will work just fine. I love the mild mineral flavor, the slight sweetness from the mirin and sugar, the distinctive crunch of the lotus root, and the soft chikuwa. Perfect with a bowl of steaming hot rice.
Stewed Hijiki | Hijiki no Nimono
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 oz. dried hijiki
2 dried shiitake
6 green beans
3.5 oz. lotus root
1 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 1/4 cups dashi
2 Tbsp. sake
1 Tbsp. mirin
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. shoyu
Let hijiki sit in a bowl of ample water for 20 minutes. In a separate bowl, reconstitute the shiitake in water and set aside. Meanwhile, blanch the aburaage. Let cool, then cut in half and slice into narrow strips crosswise. Blanch the green beans, then slice diagonally into 2 to 3 pieces, depending on the length. Peel the lotus root, cut in quarters lengthwise. Then, slice the lotus root thinly and let sit in water. Peel the carrot and cut into a fine julienne. Slice the chikuwa in half lengthwise, then slice on the diagonal into 6 to 8 pieces each.
Strain the hijiki and quickly blanch and strain again. Take the shiitake out of the water and lightly squeeze the water out of it. Slice the shiitake in half, then slice thinly crosswise. Strain the lotus root and set aside.
In a medium pot over medium heat, add oil. Once hot, add the carrots, lotus root, and shiitake and stir to coat evenly with oil. Add the aburaage and hijiki and mix well. Add the dashi, then the sake and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Next, add the shoyu and mirin and boil until there is only some liquid left, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the chikuwa and green beans and let cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Cool to room temperature to let the flavors meld and serve with rice.