Kombu—a variety of edible seaweed—has been an essential Japanese ingredient for more than a millenium. It has the remarkable effect of boosting the flavors of anything cooked in it, thanks to a large concentration of glutamate, the molecule responsible for the savory “fifth taste,” umami. Today it is most popular in
dashi, an enhanced stock used in everything from braised meats to pickle brine, but it’s also great shredded and added to rice or vegetable dishes. Here, 6 great ways to use it. Read more about kombu »
This one-pot sticky rice dish from chef Tadashi Ono combines sweet squid, spicy ginger, and shredded seaweed. It makes for a surprisingly satisfying, simple meal thanks to the complex layering of savory, spicy, and subtly sweet flavor.
Any root vegetable—squash, carrots, turnips, potatoes—can be used to make this silky, umami-rich soup from award-winning Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo.
Get the recipe for Makombu-Squash Soup »
Makombu Tsukudani (Pickled Seaweed)
This sweet-salty seaweed condiment is terrific atop rice or noodles, sprinkled over salads, or served alongside fish. Using a shredded version of the high-quality kelp called
makombu makes preparing it a snap.
See the recipe for Makombu Tsukudani (Pickled Seaweed) »
Dashi, an enhanced kelp stock with rich umami flavor, is a staple component of Japanese cooking; it has the remarkable effect of accentuating the flavors of anything cooked in it. At the Los Angeles restaurant
n/naka, chef Niki Nakayama uses it to braise chicken thighs and root vegetables for a hearty, comforting dish. Get the recipe for Dashi-Braised Chicken with Root Vegetables »
Dashi, an enhanced stock where flakes of dried skipjack tuna or dried shiitake mushrooms are steeped with kombu, an edible seaweed, is a Japanese staple; it’s used to build flavor in everything from simple soups to braised meats. In this version, the stock is prepared using shredded sheets of
(the highest grade of kombu) and makombu bonito flakes, which are shaved from tuna fillets that have been boiled, smoked, and left to ferment and harden in the sun. It lends an incredible flavor boost to braised chicken, squash soup, pickled vegetables, or just about anything else you choose to cook with it.
See the recipe for Ichiban Dashi (Kelp Stock) »
Any sturdy vegetables, such as cucumbers, radishes, peppers, cauliflower, or onions, can be put up in this flavorful dashi-infused brine Get the recipe for
Vegetables Pickled in Kelp Vinegar