Seaweed is readily available to coast dwellers who venture out at low tide, and getting easier to come by for the landlocked at local grocery stores and online. If you want to learn how to forage your own, visit my Instructables: Harvesting Kombu and Wildcrafting Nori, Wakame, and Other Seaweed.
So say you find yourself with a stash of dry seaweed, a great way to use it is to make kimchi. This is a ubiquitous fermented condiment in Korea, sort of a spicy sauerkraut that's served on the side almost all dishes. I recently had it inside pierogi's at a great Korean-fusion diner and it's my new go-to for grilled sausages. Pictured here is a mix of seaweeds-sea palm, wakame, bladderwrack, nori and kombu. Seaweed is a super food in terms of omega-3's, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. And fermented foods have “healthy bacteria” called lactobacilli, which aid digestion. So your system will be humming and this stuff is really delicious.
Step 1: Mix Cabbage With Seaweed
Use one head of Napa cabbage, cut into about 1"-2" size pieces. You want to keep in mind that dry seaweed will expand when it's wet, so chop it finely. I didn't have daikon radish, which is traditionally used, but I found a lotus root, so used that, along with some tops from Toyko turnips, and scallions that I sliced and tossed in there. Keep in mind, you want it to fit comfortably in a mouth, so chop accordingly. Mix these together in a bowl.
Step 2: Massage With Salt
If you measure in grams, use 1% of the weight of your veggie/algae mix. (Probably about 1-3 tablespoons). Massage this into the vegetables.
Step 3: Soak
Cover the cabbage/seaweed with water. Place another pan or plate over it and weigh it down so the vegetables brine.
Step 4: Mix Spices Into Paste
Make a paste of garlic, gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes), you can also use the pre-made Korean chili-garlic paste that you find in most grocery stores. Grate ginger into this as well. I also added two anchovy fillets because anchovies are like the bacon of the ocean and make everything better.
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. grated ginger
3 tbsp. of red chili flakes
2 anchovy fillets
Step 5: Drain Water, Add Spices, and Store
Drain the water from the seaweed and cabbage and mix with the spices. There are a lot of ways to store this, but I used a vac pac and then put it into the cupboard. You can eat it right away, but it won't be fermented. Give it a few weeks to a month to let the lacto-fermentation take place.
Step 6: Eat Your Seaweed Kimchi on Everything
This is an easy and delicious dish-it's a version of Korean bibimbop. It's a bowl of rice topped with crispy salmon skin, an egg, and seaweed kimchi. (With a sprinkle of gomasio).