Before going into this food item I just want to touch on the warning that has been attached to this type of seaweed. There are a number of governments around the world that discourage people from eating hijiki because some of the crops have a rather high level of arsenic. I bought and ate this knowing this and pretty much not caring. After all, I can’t imagine a company knowingly selling toxic food.
Anyway, let’s onto less toxic matters. One of my Christmas presents this year was a rice cooker (it’s technically a multi-cook, but to me it’s my beautiful new rice cooker. This is a kitchen appliance that I have been wanting for years, but never bought because it felt a bit frivolous. It sound a bit strange to say this, but this may b one of the best Christmas presents that my husband has ever bought me.
I mention my new rice cooker because, without this, I am not sure how I would have cooked the hijiki. I mean I know there would have been some way to do this as a soup, but it turned out so well this way:
To prepare the hijiki I took note of a recipe from Japanese Food Report for hijiki mixed rice. Since I didn’t have access to dashi stock I substituted in low-salt chicken stock. Other than that I had most things to hand… even the white soy sauce, which I am very happy to have found another use for.
The main thing that the hijiki added to the mixed rice was some saltiness and something I can only describe as minerally. Having eaten this delicious mixed rice I am very sure that I have already eaten this seaweed at some point in Japan. There is an odd umami flavour in this dish that you don’t get outside of Japanese food, and it might have been a mix of the shiro shoyu and the hijiki that given this flavour.
With the dried hijiki a little really goes a long way and I have so much of this left that I am probably going to be having mixed rice a few more times in the next few months. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a way to mix in some of the dried golden needles that I have in the cupboard.