Kelp is on its way

First published 6/10/2011 updated 18/6/2019

Seaweed has long been an essential part of the Japanese diet and noted for its healing properties in the East since 3000 BC, now modern cuisine has begun to embrace mineral rich marine algae with abundance.  Seaweed, also known as sea vegetables, are predominantly edible with varieties that include wrack, kelp, laver (nori), sea lettuce and dulse.  They possess a highly concentrated source of nutrients, including high protein and iron content, with high levels of manganese, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, zinc and calcium.

Many seaweeds contain sizable amounts of vitamin A, B, C & D and are one of the few plant foods to produce vitamin B12, making it an excellent addition to a vegan diet. Nori is extremely high in protein and may also be used crumbled over salads and soups, while some are rich in fibre, iron and calcium and have a sweet delicate flavour. Seaweed has an alkalising effect on the blood and contains mucilaginous gels which have a rejuvenating effect on the lungs and gastrointestinal tract. Roasting kombu it develops a rich salty, umami flavour, a little like liquorice.

In 2010 I certified with Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods who declares that sea vegetables and seaweeds are the highest plant source of minerals. Minerals in seaweeds (and any plant) are much more easily assimilated than minerals in supplements, which are often from non-living sources. By rotating various seaweeds through a diet, all minerals, including the trace minerals, are made available. Sea vegetables are the richest source of magnesium including wakame, kombu, kelp, hijiki, arame and dulse.

Did you know that by adding seaweeds to legumes while they are cooking helps to soften them and also helps to detoxify them? For improved flavour and digestion, more nutrients, and faster cooking, place soaked kombu or kelp seaweed in the bottom of the pot. Add 1 part seaweed to 6 or more parts legumes. Use seaweed soak water to cook grains and vegetables to boost the nutrient content.

Seaweed draws down carbon

“Seaweed grows 30 times faster than land based plants and as the oceans are 72 percent of the surface of the Earth, biodiversity is returning through seaweed farming. Kelp farming is already a multi-billion dollar a year industry. The biggest scoping study done on the potential for using seaweed to draw down CO2 was done at the University of the South Pacific in 2012. They established that if we could cover nine percent of the ocean in seaweed farms we could basically offset all of our global annual emissions.“
– Tim Flannery Source

Clarence Coast kelp forager Cody Possum below harvests Australian Seaweed and sun dries by hand. He is the Winner of the NSW Delicious Magazine from the Sea Produce Awards 2018. Image Source

Chef Sam Gowing’s Recipes

Kelp oil
Roasting kombu comes from the Laminariaceae family. When baked it develops a rich salty, umami flavour with a hint of liquorice. Infusing with macadamia oil gives a nutty taste and slightly earth aroma. Use on salads, cooked meat and fish, steamed vegetables or drizzle over cheese and figs. Oh my!

100 gm dried kombu
200 ml Brookfarm Premium Grade Macadamia Oil

  1. Preheat oven to 160 C.
  2. Place kelp on baking tray, bake until crisp – about 1 hour.
  3. Break up kelp by hand and place in a blender.
  4. Add macadamia oil. Blitz until pureed.
  5. Allow to infuse for 1 hour.
  6. Strain through a sieve, pressing down to extract the oil.
  7. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Sam’s salad of kelp noodles with seaweed and ginger
Use soba noodles or vermicelli if kelp noodles are unavailable.

Dressing
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 dessertspoon brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon white miso paste

For the salad

1 piece wakame seaweed – about 2 centimetres, snipped
1 piece arame seaweed – about 2 centimetres, snipped
1 packet kelp noodles, rinsed, drained, snipped
1 cup bitter green leaves rocket, radicchio, rinsed, dried and torn
1 tablespoon pickled ginger, shredded
1 tablespoon assorted sprouts
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 sheet nori, shredded finely

  1. Whisk dressing ingredients together and allow to stand.
  2. Soak wakame and arame in warm water for a few minutes.
  3. Drain, pat dry and reserve soaking liquid.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine kelp noodles, soaked seaweeds, leaves and ginger.
  5. Toss well. Lightly fold in sprouts, sesame seeds and nori shreds.
  6. Serve immediately on individual plates or one large platter or ceramic bowl.
    Gowings_KelpNoodleSalad

Chef Samantha Gowing put food as medicine on the map in Australia by using her unique blend of nutrition, fine dining andbusiness expertise. Sam has worked for nearly 20 years with people all over the world on improving their health and wellbeing as Australia’s leading spa chef and an award-winning clinical nutritionist. She is renowned for her nutritional wisdom – and for being a powerful influencer among healthy lifestyle audiences. Her Byron Bay Cooking School and global wellness company Gowings Food Health Wealth creates culinary programs for luxury hotels, spas and health retreats worldwide. FHW offers dynamic wellness business solutions that help food and health entrepreneurs create successful and sustainable businesses and has paved the way for the new genre of wellness enthusiasts since 1999.

Contact Sam for more information, media interviews or recipe development here

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