Korean Wakame Seaweed Salad

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Korean Wakame Seaweed Salad

Korean Wakame Seaweed Salad

Korean Wakame Seaweed Salad is yet another gluten free super food that I simply cannot live without.  I also eat Wakame seaweed in my Korean Seaweed Soup Recipe (Miyeok Guk) which is another one of my favorite recipes!  Okay, let’s just say that I am really loving my Korean Cuisine and having any excuse at all to eat it all the time is perfectly fine with me!

Sea vegetables like Wakame seaweed, Nori seaweed(think sushi rolls) and Kombu seaweed (used with anchovies to make starter stock in Korean recipes) are so good for you!  Dr. Oz and so many other health experts are raving about it’s benefits!

“Seaweed and marine algae have more concentrated nutrition than vegetables grown on land and they have long been considered to possess powers to prolong life, prevent disease, and impart beauty and health. For thousands of years, this mineral-rich vegetable has been a staple in Asian diets.” – Dr. Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., PhD

Read Dr. Mao Shing Ni’s full article on www.droz.com for the benefits of eating nori, wakame and kombu seaweeds on our bodies for good health and nutrition using this link.

Korean Wakame Seaweed Salad Recipe

Makes 6 (1/2 cup) servings

  • 1 package of wakame seaweed to total 3 cups (you can use either the dehydrated or salted packages)
  • 1/4 cup sliced onion, slice it super thin
  • 3 cloves of finely minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup Korean soy sauce (see below for a description/explanation)
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • **If you want a slightly spicy kick then you could slice fresh hot peppers very thinly or use a small amount ( 1 – 2 tsp) of hot pepper powder**
  1. Soak the wakame in cold water in a large bowl for 20 minutes to remove excess salt and rehydrate the seaweed.  Wash and rinse in cold water for 3 cycles after 20 minutes of soaking to ensure you remove all impurities, excess salt and reduce the slime on the seaweed.  Allow to fully drain in a strainer while prepping the other ingredients for your vinaigrette dressing.
  2. Thinly slice 1/4 cup onion and finely mince 3 cloves of garlic while your wakame drains.
  3. Mix the onions, soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, sesame seeds and sesame oil in a bowl to create the vinaigrette dressing for the salad, set aside.
  4. Slice the wakame seaweed into small bite size pieces.  The salted packages can have long tendrils of seaweed and you can layer them on a cutting board and slice.  If using the dehydrated seaweed then cut the seaweed with scissors into 1-2 inch strips prior to soaking.
  5. Toss the wakame to fully coat in the vinaigrette dressing you prepped in step 3.
  6. Place in an air tight container and allow to “marinade” for 24 hours prior to serving.  Toss to coat prior to serving to ensure the salad is evenly dressed as the dressing tends to settle in the bottom of the container.
  7. This will keep for 1 week in the fridge in the air tight container.  Serve it with your favorite rice and kimchi dishes, soups or stews as a “banchan side” dish.

Slicing the wakame into bite size pieces

Korean Wakame Seaweed Salad - Slicing Wakame for Korean Wakame Seaweed Salad

Cut into 1 – 2 inch strips so all of the seaweed is easy to eat.

Salted and dehydrated wakame packages

Korean Wakame Seaweed Salad - Salted Wakame Package

The salted wakame package

Miyeok (or Wakame) Seaweed

The dehydrated wakame, must soak in water to reconstitute

Use scissors to cut the seaweed into 1-2 in pieces

Cut prior to soaking to make your life easier!

The wakame does come pre-packaged but that’s because most of us don’t live right next to the ocean otherwise you could purchase this in it’s fresh form from a farmer’s market.  I saw it hanging in long strands in the markets of Korea when I visited many years ago.  It comes in various sizes, varieties and colors and it was so interesting to see it swaying with the breeze.  You could also see the light reflect through it when it caught the rays of the sun just right.

Korean Soy Sauce versus Kikkoman and other common brands

Korean Wakame Seaweed Salad - Korean Soup Soy Sauce

Korean Style Soy Sauce

Brown Salty Water

I know almost everyone and anyone is familiar with Kikkoman brand soy sauce and the little convenient condiment packages that come with our orders of Chinese take-out and eggrolls but that is not real authentic soy sauce in my opinion.  It’s more or less salty water with brown food coloring and I can’t use very much of it because of the over-powering salty taste.

Not all soy sauces are created equal and there is plenty of literature on the web to debate it all.  It is still unanswered as to whether soy sauce is technically gluten free since some varieties use wheat and others use rice in the brewing process.  I am not following a strictly gluten free diet since I don’t have Celiac disease but if you do then take a look at the ingredients list on the bottle.  There are plenty of varieties and brands that are in fact gluten free and the ones made with rice flour instead of wheat flour are always a safe bet when in doubt.

The Korean soy sauces are very mild in flavor and the salty taste is much “cleaner” in my opinion.  I also tend to use far less in my recipes when I put it in a squeeze bottle when I don’t feel like measuring for recipes.  Koreans tend to cook this way so it’s nothing new!

Soup Soy Sauce and it’s uses

Soup soy sauce is a bit saltier than the regular soy sauce and it is much lighter in color so that it won’t alter the color of the overall appearance of your food.  I don’t bother with buying different types of soy sauce as I have found that I prefer the regular soy sauce that has been brewed with kelp.  It has a fresh, clean, light and mild flavor that I prefer and I even use it when marinating beef for bulgogi.

Korean Wakame Seaweed Salad - Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce with Kelp

My Personal Favorite for Cooking at Home

If you are curious to read in depth about the various Korean soy sauces then read this article on crazykoreancooking.com that details the differences in their use and flavors.  I learned quite a bit about the names and the chart showing the uses is very helpful!

I hope you will try this super healthy and nutritious side dish!  I usually eat it with pan fried eggs, brown rice and kimchi as a light meal.  Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste and you can enjoy every bite knowing you are nourishing your body with healthy goodness!

Heart Healthy Diets

I stated above that I am not strictly following a gluten free diet but I am following a heart healthy diet since I have hypertension and metabolic syndrome.  Soy sauce can contain quite a bit of sodium when you read the ingredients list but I must argue that I don’t worry too much about my use of it on a daily basis.  The reason being is that I am no longer eating processed foods, convenience or packaged foods.

I make everything at home I have even resorted to making my own homemade ramen broths from bone broth stocks and almost everything I eat is in it’s natural or organic form because my banchan side dishes are made of vegetables.

When you consider how much sodium is in processed and pre-packaged foods versus consuming organic and non-processed foods then my sodium intake is actually lower than it might be on a daily basis.  Sodium is pretty much in everything that we eat that comes from a can, package, box or container.

So using soy sauce in place of salt is not a concern for me since I probably really only consume 2 tbsp. total in one day.  I used 1/4 cup for the vinaigrette dressing in this 3 cups of wakame salad recipe so that calculates to 2 teaspoons of soy sauce per serving, except that most of the dressing remains in the bottom of the storage container so you consume even less!  Truth be told, I can barely consume a 1/2 cup serving of this side dish on my own so I would probably really only eat 1/4 cup total.

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