Venture into Sea Vegetables!
Marching into March, warm waters await us! If high adventure activity like scuba diving doesn't sound appealing, we can dare to dive deep to explore the culinary world of sea vegetables! Here’s an introduction to low-calorie, nutrient dense food for ever experimenting health conscious people.
Green seaweeds, have chlorophyll pigment.
Sea lettuce – it is an excellent source of calcium and magnesium promoting bone health and supports and improves gut health since a 100 gram serving contains 29 grams of fiber, 22.1 grams of plant-based protein and 5.3 milligrams of iron, equivalent to 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of both nutrients an impressive vitamin profile and a skin-boosting food.
Red seaweeds, have red pigments, although they can look purple as well as a whole range of other related colors. Pigment can change to green after cooking since its heat labile.
Dulse – A 3.5 ounce serving provides 21.5 grams of protein. It’s eaten fresh and dried in soups, chowders and fish dishes, and in seasoning.
Nori is used in sushi preparation, the dried sheets do not need soaking, taste is delicate and nutlike, highest in protein of sea vegetables (35%) and has more vitamin A than carrots and a significant amount of vitamin B 12. Nori contains 10 times more calcium than milk. According to a study published in British Journal of Nutrition, Nori has a cholesterol-reducing effect.
Agar – vegetable jello used as gelling agent in pudding, yogurt, jam, jelly and candy. Excellent food for infants and sick people. Agar is a favorable vegetarian substitute for gelatin.
Irish moss – supports thyroid function, has abundance of iodine and selenium crucial for thyroid function, is an excellent source of B vitamins, supports the system. Additionally, it has a neuro-protective effect shielding the brain from the accumulation of a protein, α-synulein that is associated with neurodegeneration and the development of Parkinson's disease.
Kelp – Fishy taste, there are some 900 varieties of this brown vegetable, extremely rich in iodine, iron, copper and magnesium. Alginate, the natural fiber in kelp might help digestion and reduce fat (cholesterol) absorption.
Kombu – available dried or pickled in vinegar (mostly as wide or square strips). It is enjoyed on its own after being simmered in soy sauce, and its powdered form can be used to brew the Japanese tea kombucha. It contains high levels of iodine and is also a source of dietary fiber.
Alaria – Excellent source of protein and iodine.
Arame – large leaf that has been shredded before drying. Soaking is not recommended as nutrients and its sweet, mild flavor are lost. Tastes great sautéed or combine it with veggies and tofu.
Hijiki – strong taste and needs to be soaked 3-5 minutes before cooking to enable it to be sliced. Cooking time is more because of rough texture. Has a higher mineral concentration, especially calcium, than any other food.
Tips for introducing sea vegetables into diet
- Sea vegetables when soaked or cooked expand five times their dry volume.
- Cut vegetables into small pieces and reduce the amount called for in recipe.
- Use larger proportions of sweeter vegetables when preparing hijiki and arame dishes.
- After soaking strong, salty vegetables, change the water before cooking.
- The stronger vegetables are kombu, hijiki and wakame. Use longer cooking time to make them sweeter.
Recipe of the month:
Saag Paneer kombu
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt as per taste (spinach and kombu are salty vegetables)
- 1 medium-large vidalia Onion ( i use strawberry green onions when in season
- 1 long celery stick finely chopped ( onion substitute)
- 4-5 cloves Garlic
- 1 inch Ginger
- 3-4 thai green chillies finely chopped
- 1.5 tbsp coriander cumin powder
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- ½ cup yogurt
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 16 oz. bunch fresh/frozen chopped spinach leaves
- 1 cup paneer diced – 100-110 grams
- ½ oz. kombu (dehydrated 3-4 strips), lay it flat on the pat and pour warm water to cover it and rehydrate. It takes about 10 minutes to rehydrate. Cut it into thin strips and reserve the kombu stock (water in which it was soaked).
- Paneer, if possible buy refrigerated one.
- Put the diced paneer in hot salt water and drain it after 20-25 minutes. You can sauté the paneer in oil or add as is in the gravy.
- Heat oil, temper cumin seeds, whole coriander seeds, whole red chili. Add onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies and sauté until onions are tender about 10 minutes on slow to medium flame. Add coriander cumin powder and garam masala, sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add butter, spinach and kombu and kombu stock, cover and cook for 7-10 minutes. Put the flame on simmer and add yogurt and sour cream, mix well, add salt if needed and lastly add paneer and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Serve hot with any starch!
To Our Health!
Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at email@example.com.