Monday, July 02, 2007

Wakame salad topped with smoked salmon

Even though it feels like an eternity, it’s only been about 2-and-a-half-weeks since I started trying to eat a little more healthily (is that a word?). Why the healthy eating? No, I’m not one of those women who live perpetually on rice cakes and salad, and for whom “diet” is a lifestyle not some tortuous ritual.

However, I am heading home to Melbourne for a holiday in August and expect to be eating up a storm then! Plus, I’m not willing to incur any of the “oh you look so….healthy” type remarks from my relatives when they see that I have been enjoying all those German beers! (Ok, my relatives are not that tactful. They usually just get right to the point and say “oh, you’ve put on weight”!)

Anyway, it’s definitely been a pain challenge trying to come up with healthy yet interesting meals. All I want to do is eat lots of rice, fried noodles and cookies!

On top of that, I already lacked creativity in the kitchen before the healthy eating thing! Take away the rice, noodles, oil, fat and sugar….it doesn’t leave much for me to play with!

Anyway, luckily, I found a lifesaver: wakame. Wakame is basically a type of edible seaweed. It’s usually the green stuff that’s floating around in your miso soup at Japanese restaurants (well, in Parisian“Japanese” restaurants anyway).

According to Wikipedia, wakame is supposed to be pretty good for you but I just like it for its semi-crunchy consistency, which gives a little texture to boring ol’ salads. Plus, it’s also pretty easy to prepare (extra points there!).

I buy dried unsalted wakame in packets and all I need to do is soak a handful in water for about 3 minutes then drain. My Japanese friends tell me that in Japan, wakame is also sold fresh.

Anyway, here’s what Hubs and I have been eating for 2 days in a row: Wakame salad topped with smoked salmon. Yum.

To prepare the dried wakame, I soaked it in a bowl of water for 3-5 minutes then drained. I then lightly squeezed the wakame with my hands to remove the water. Be careful not to over soak the wakame otherwise it becomes too soft and loses its crunch.

The time that the wakame needs to soak in water tends to depend on the brand. I’ve found that while one brand only took about 1-2 minutes, another brand took 5 minutes.

This is what I used for the salad:
Wakame (I used roughly 1/3 a cup of dried unsalted wakame for 2 people)
Cherry tomatoes
Dried cranberries (left over from those cookies!)
Sesame seeds
Smoked salmon (store bought)

For the salad dressing, I just made a simple and commonly used Asian-type dressing:
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
a splash of sesame oil
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp chilli flakes (I love my chilli)

And ta-da – dinner for 2! I found that the sweetness of the dried cranberries went really well with the salty smoked salmon.

Now all I have to do is find something interesting and low-fat to make for the next 4 weeks!


  1. This definitely is one healthy meal. The Chinese here love to eat wakame too. They cut it out and serve it with cold noodle. They said the green one is better than the black one.

  2. That looks really yum! You ate only that for dinner? I would be still hungry :) That thing the rellies do - doesn't it drive you mad? I hate it when they say that, really bluntly - hey you got fatter. yeah, many thanks auntie. or it's usually my mum first. She always says it if I send a picture. Just send pics of grandkids now! I'm sure it must be a sign of affection or something :(

  3. Isn't that what wraps sushi as well? Regardless, it looks good.

  4. looks good, and healty food

  5. Thanks for introducing me to wakame. I only used to know it as seaweed. :-) Love it in miso soup. It's different from the sushi wrapper right? Now, gotta look for wakame at the Asian shelf in the supermarkets here or at an Asian grocer's.

    Do you like raw fennel, W&S? It's low-caloried and delicious if cut into small strips and drizzled with a bit of olive oil (or pumpkin seed oil, 'kuerbiskernoel') and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

    How about white radish or 'kohlrabi' and little red radishes?

  6. LittleCorner: You’re in the US right? My wakame is dark green…I’m not sure I’ve ever seen black wakame. I’ll have to look out for it.

    Msiagirl: Yes, I was hungry later…so I ate some more salad (I made loads!) Yeah, it’s usually my mum who says that I’ve put on weight first! Hehe! Mums are always mums!

    Kelly: Actually no, wakame is a different type of seaweed. It’s nori that is used to wrap sushi. I love both types of seaweed!

    Isha: Yep …healthy…I’m not sure how long this health kick will last though!

    EastMeetsWestKitchen: Wakame can taste good with almost anything I think! I’ll have to try it in a stirfry!

    Argus: Yep – the wakame is different to the nori (sushi wrapper). The wakame kind of looks like little black bits in the packet.

    I actually really like fennel raw but the husband doesn’t! Pumpkin oil! That’s new to me – does it have any flavour? Or does it taste like oil? Thanks for your great ideas. In France we also eat the little radishes raw with salt or butter!

    Lia: Yep – and healthy ;-)

  7. That salad sounds delicious. I would try it with raw salmon. As for healthy meals, if you like fish, how about grilling some fish in the oven or wrapping it in foil so it cooks in its own juices? You can use differenr seasonings. I usually just drizzle some lemon juice, salt flakes & pepper. or you can add ginger, coriander, lemongrass... p/s: I know what you mean about relatives and their comments.

  8. 0oohh..I wish that I could eat only salads for dinner. It´s good for me while my relatives keep saying that I´ve got fatter. I´ve tried it. But, I can´t sleep well while I am starving. Maybe, step by step...

  9. I'm not so sure. Perhaps the black one is not called wakame but seaweed? Or there are darker green and lighter green ones and I mistook the darker green one as black? Not sure, I only had those in a Chinese friend's house.

  10. Nora: I love fish but finding fresh seafood of any kind is a real pain in Frankfurt. The Germans aren't really into seafood at all and it's hard to come by (no fresh fish in the local supermarket, nor the local produce type market and no fish shops around!)...not to mention expensive!

    Retno: Hehe - yeah, I have salad for dinner but end up having another "snack" before going to bed as I get hungry again!

    LittleCorner: I'll have to check out all the different types the next time I'm in an Asian shop!

  11. Your salad not only looks healthy, but also very tasty! Mmhhh, smoked salmon is ever so gorgeous!

  12. "Little black bits" - mmm... OK, will look out for wakame - hope I don't mistake green tea for it. Heh.

    Kurbiskernol (with the umlaut U and umlaut O) or pumpkin seed oil tastes wonderfully nutty and aromatic, not oily but it looks a bit green! The one from Aldi is pretty good.

    I love trying the regional produce. Once I cooked soup with purple radish or turnip and the soup went from purple to darkish blue while I was eating it - so hilarious.

  13. I like wakame too and used them in soups.

    You ate those 2 days in a row - 2 days 3meals...makes 6 meals of just SALAD! I will faint!

  14. Wakame.... I think I will just wallup all the smoke salmon and leave the salad and use wakame to make soup.

    : )

  15. Argus: Actually you're right. It looks a bit like tea! I'll have to look out for the pumpkin oil! Sounds like just the thing to drizzle over salads!

    Tigerfish: I'm not so crazy - hehe! No, I didn't have salad for breakfast!! Just lunch and dinner - so, only 4 meals! But I did snack inbetween - healthy snacks though!

    BigBoysOven: I usually like to eat the smoked salmon with salad or something else as I find it too salty to eat on it's own.

  16. Rosa: Thx for stopping by. And yeah, mmmm to smoked salmon!

  17. did someone mention german beer? :-) :-)

  18. I've never tried cranberries + smoked salmon but I can imagine that they would really work well together. I think this will be my next salad creation! So healthy

  19. LyricalLemongrass: Hehe - yeah GERMAN BEER!

    Hi Steamykitchen: I love the sweet and salty combination of the cranberries and the smoked's like drinking coke or juice and eating salty chips! hehe!

  20. I am not a fan of salmon but I looooove smoked salmon because it's so tender and smokey...hehe. I had a lot of them recently when I was in Hong Kong...a lunch buffet and I had so much of them. :P

  21. RasaMalaysia: I love both salmon and smoked salmon! The only thing with smoked salmon is it can be a bit salty! So, you need a sweet dessert afterwards to balance it out ;-)


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