A Gift From The Ocean: Seaweed
A Gift From The Ocean: Seaweed
Korea Health Industry Development Institute conducted a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found something interesting. There was a nutrient that was largely consumed especially by Koreans. It’s iodine. Iodine is a nutrient that’s vital for managing thyroid health, and the average amount of iodine intake by a Korean was found to exceed the optimum level by 5 times at most. The food group that contributes the most to such levels of iodine intake by Koreans are marine plants, including seaweed.
In Korea, seaweed is an ingredient that’s been consumed by pregnant women for postnatal recovery and by everyone on birthdays in the form of miyeok guk (seaweed soup) as a tradition. It’s also a popular ingredient for preparing various side dishes like miyeokjulgi bokkeum (stir-fried seaweed stem), miyeokcho muchim (seaweed with vinegar dressing), and miyeok naengguk (cold seaweed soup). According to historical records, miyeok guk was recommended for women’s postnatal care since the late Joseon period, and there was also a village made specifically for producing seaweed during the Goryeo dynasty. Seaweed was enjoyed on special days, as well as on average days since the old times, which explains the high iodine intake of Koreans. In fact, as opposed to people in other countries that buy iodine supplements, Koreans don’t find the need to do so.
Seaweed is also rich in many other nutrients other than iodine. The viscous substance on the outer surface of seaweed contains a compound called alginic acid, which helps emit impurities from inside the body when consumed. It also has a property that helps with stomach health by protecting the walls of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Seaweed is abundant in calcium as well, so it’s an important ingredient that growing children, women experiencing menopause, and elderly people must consume. It’s also categorized as a healthy diet food because of its high dietary fiber content that helps with constipation and gives the feeling of being full and satisfied.
The Gijang region in Korea is considered to have the best environmental conditions for the healthy growth of seaweeds, with its rough currents and low water temperatures! Gijang’s seaweed has such excellent flavors, chewy texture, and high content of various nutrients, that it’s called the best-quality seaweed and was even offered to the king in the past. As the global interest in healthy eating has increased, Korean seaweed is being exported to all parts of the world, including China, Japan, the USA, and Canada.
Although seaweed grows anywhere along the coast whether it is in the east or the west, it is true that it wasn’t very popular among the western eating culture because of its characteristic pulpiness. So we’ll introduce you to an easy healthy recipe that will allow anyone to enjoy the healthy food seaweed, a gift from the ocean, with this seaweed risotto recipe.
1 Ladle of Seaweed base
1 Crab stick
2T Olive oil
1T Minced garlic
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Slice Cheddar cheese
1 Bowl Cold rice
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Black pepper
Rinse the raw seaweed clean. Make a seaweed base by soaking the seaweed completely in water and blending.
Cut the crab stick in small pieces.
Add the olive oil to a pan and cook the minced garlic over low heat.
Add the crab stick pieces to the pan and sauté for a little bit. Then, add the seaweed base.
Pour in the milk and mix well.
Add the rice, cheese, and sugar and boil until the mixture thickens.
Adjust the flavor with salt and black pepper.
Transfer the finished risotto onto a plate and top with butter.
- If you’re using dried seaweed to make the seaweed base, pre-soak the seaweed in water for about 5 minutes.
- You can use the leftover seaweed base for various other dishes like ramen, porridge, and pasta.