昆布(こんぶ/konbu) – kelp

昆布(こんぶ/konbu) – kelp

Last week, I talked about bonito flakes which we use to make stock. Today, I’m going to talk about the next commonly used ingredient for stock which is 昆布(こんぶ/konbu) – dried kelp (kombu).

The top photo shows the type we use for 出汁(だし/dashi – stock). Make a few slits before you put it in water and soak it for a while before you heat the water. When you are heating the water, it is important that you take the kombu out before the water starts to boil. Once it boils, the unpleasant flavour of kombu comes out to the stock, they say. We often add bonito flakes after we take the kombu out and complete the stock making but if you want vegetarian stock, kombu alone makes a good stock too.
Other than making stock, we use kombu in various different ways. We make 佃煮(つくだに) with cut kombu which becomes a good accompanyment with rice. We shave dried kombu to use it as a garnish (the bottom photo). Deep fried kombu becomes a good snack food.
Another thing I do with kombu at home is that I make “kombu vinegar” – I put slivers of kombu in a bottled vinegar and leave it for at least one hour. That takes away the sharp smell of vinegar, so I get very mild vinegar with full flavour which I use for making a salad dressing and/or dipping sauces.

Although I don’t know how true or effective it is, apparently kombu has some property that prevent body from absorbing fat. I’m not thin but I’m not fat either, so maybe that is working!

Would you like to try kombu?

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