Tuesday, February 24, 2009

chasoba salad w miso dressing

This vegetarian noodle salad is an exquisite summer dinner or lunch, but it could also be part of a buffet or even work as a starter.

We eat this as a stand alone main course, but those wanting protein could serve it with pan-fried salmon or soy marinated beef.

Chasoba Salad w Miso Dressing
Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 2.

180g instant chasoba noodles
300g oyster mushrooms
300g enoki mushrooms
3 scallions, sliced finely into rounds
1 sheet dried wakame (5cm x 10cm)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon white miso paste
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

1. Slice the oyster mushrooms into strips and break the enoki bundles into equal sized portions as the oyster mushrooms.
2. Heat some half the sesame oil in a frying pan then sauté the mushrooms until soft, cooked and all the moisture has dissipated.
3. Meanwhile, follow the packet instructions and cook the chasoba until soft and ready to eat.
4. While the noodles cook, mix together the remaining sesame oil, soy sauce, miso paste and mirin. Whisk to combine the dressing.
5. When the chasoba are cooked, drained and refresh with cold water.
6. In a bowl toss together the dressing, noodles and half the sesame seeds.
7. Lay noodles on a plate then drizzle over any dressing left in the bowl. Arrange scallions and mushrooms on top then sprinkle over remaining sesame seeds.
8. With kitchen scissors, take the sheet of wakame and cut into thin shreds. Garnish salad with wakame and serve immediately.

For this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Ulrike at Küchenlatein, I have decided to focus on wakame.

Undaria pinnatifida is an edible kelp. It has a crunchy texture and salty flavour.

Wakame is part of the brown algae family and is linked to the prevention of obesity. A compound in wakame (fucoxanthin) can help burn fatty tissue, which is all the more reason to devour it by the truckload!

In fact wakame has many health benefits because it’s rich in calcium, protein, iodine, magnesium, iron and folate. Even better, it is virtually calorie free.

Another benefit is that kelps are high in lignans, which are believed to have cancer fighting properties. Some reports claim that Japanese women who eat a lot of kelp have lower rates of breast cancer.

Seaweeds are often advertised as energy boosters, but only those with under active thyroids and low levels of iodine get any significant energy increase from kelp supplements.

I was shocked to learn that wakame is actually one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species after it took over New Zealand harbours. It’s an extremely fertile and hardy plant so it has proved very successful outside its native coastal areas (Japan, Korea and China).

Another interesting aspect that I learnt about wakame is that it can soften the fibres of other ingredients cooked alongside it.


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