Wakame from the pristine waters of the Southern Ocean around the south of New Zealand. With a unique taste that is winning approval from those who use Wakame the most - Japanese people.
Wakame, or Japanese Kelp is the delicious fronds of the sea vegetable, Undaria. Highly valued for its nutritional qualities as well as its flavour.
Forest Gourmet Wakame is harvested from the wild, in the pristine ocean waters of southern New Zealand. Freeze dried.
Seaweed is one of those foods that I can never get enough of. When we lived in Ireland, we were able to buy fresh dillisk and carrageen in the markets; I quickly learned how to prepare them. Back in New Zealand, we discovered sushi which is now a firm favourite with most of my family - Mr Nine does not like rice so he is not interested, but everyone else enjoys it. Wakame is similar in taste to the nori that I use for sushi making, but it has a lot more flavour; it is also chunky whereas nori is processed in flat sheets.
It was a mistake to read the printed instructions first. My daughter and I discovered that you could eat the pieces straight from the pack, and they were so delicious that we had to remind each other to stop so we would have some left for dinner! Miss Seven tried them too, and just like us, she declared that she thought they were great. Interestingly, my son-in-law did not especially like the flavour. And Mr Nine refused to so much as try any because of the resemblance to nori!
We had prepared a prawn chowder for dinner: this contained root vegetables, corn kernels, leeks, onions, turmeric and garlic. The chowder was passed through the blender once the potatoes were cooked, and then the raw prawns, some chopped parsley, and half the packet of wakame were added. This mixture was simmered for a few minutes more until the prawns were cooked through. Finally, a dash of cream was added to each bowl, and a further sprinkle of dry wakame added for garnish. My daughter had made some bread to accompany the chowder; we ate this hot, cut into thick slices and lightly buttered.
Three of us loved it. We liked the way the wakame added a salty flavour to the prawns and jazzed up the dish. My son-in-law was the only dissenter; he thought it lacked flavour and should have had a lot more salt added. However, he had not liked the wakame dry either, so his reaction was not unexpected. I went back for seconds; so did my daughter, and even Miss Seven asked for a top-up.
I used the rest of the packet as garnish for pan-friend flounder next day. This time I did not bother to reconstitute it in liquid; I just added it to the bottom of the pan, gave it a quick heat through in the flounder juices, then served it still half crunchy. Using a larger quantity gave it much more appeal. The flavours of the fish and wakame blended into a single tasty delight. I think I should have been guided by the packet when making the chowder as it clearly indicated that the 10g contents constituted a single serve. However, this was just the second time I had used it, so I was learning from the experience - and I was reluctant to use too much in case it overpowered everything else.
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