Sea vegetables, or sea weeds, are the most nutrient dense food on the planet and arame is one that is tasty and easy to prepare. These plants that actually grow in the ocean have been eaten for hundred of thousands of years. There were ancient people preserved in a bog that were tens of thousands of years old and guess what they had in their carrying pouches? Yes, it was sea weed. Our ancient ancestors knew that once dried, sea vegetables are non perishable and can last forever. So they made excellent travel food. And their nutritional profile makes them an important part of any diet.
All sea vegetables are very high in iron and calcium. And the calcium in arame is readily available to be absorbed by your body, unlike the calcium from dairy. Also high in minerals and trace minerals, arame can help alleviate high blood pressure, build bones, and treat female disorders. Sea vegetables have the ability to help dissolve fat deposits that have accumulated in the body from high fat foods, and are used frequently in Oriental medicine to successfully dissolve tumors. Sea vegetables also have natural iodine, which helps the thyroid function properly.
When cooking with sea vegetables, they expand when cooked to about twice the size they are when dry, so remember to start with a small amount. Also, all sea vegetables are bitter to the taste. When creating a dish with them, you have to pair them with naturally sweet vegetables such as: carrots, cooked onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, winter squash, and rutabaga. Arame does not need to be soaked, but you need to rinse it before cooking.
1 onion (thin half moons)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 cup arame (rinsed)
2 carrots (matchsticks)
1 broccoli stalk (cut up)
1 cup cabbage (diced)
10 mushrooms (cut up)
4 T. sunflower seeds
4 T. tamari
3 T. mirin (brown rice cooking wine)
Sauté the onions in toasted sesame oil and tamari until translucent. Add garlic, continue sautéing for a couple more minutes. Place arame on top of onions. Then layer the rest of the vegetables, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, and mushrooms. Add the tamari and a little water to cover bottom of pan. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add the sunflower seeds and mirin. Mix all together, serve and enjoy!
Valerie Wilson is a chef, author, counselor and host of ‘Healthy Cooking with MacroVal’ on BMS Radio. Recipe is from her cookbook ‘Perceptions In Healthy Cooking’. Visit: www.macroval.com (734)722-4553