The Japanese have been cooking with edible kelp such as kombu for more than a millennium; it has a unique flavor-boosting power thanks to a high concentration of glutamate, the molecule responsible for the savory “fifth taste” we call umami. This one-pot sticky rice dish from chef Tadashi Ono combines sweet squid, spicy ginger, and shredded makombu, the highest grade of kombu. It makes for a surprisingly satisfying, simple meal thanks to the complex layering of savory, spicy and subtly sweet flavor. This recipe first appeared in our October 2014 issue with the story Spectacular Seaweed.
- 8 oz. fresh or frozen and defrosted squid, bodies cleaned, halved length-wise, and cut crosswise ½” thick, tentacles left whole
- 2 oz. shredded makombu
- 2 cups short grain rice, rinsed until water runs clear, and drained
- 3 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 (3″) piece ginger, peeled and julienned
- 1⁄4 cup roughly chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Bring squid, makombu, rice, soy sauce, ginger, and 2 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cook, covered, until rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes, then uncover and stir. Transfer to bowls; garnish with parsley, if you like.