Kelp – Kombu
Glutamic acid is an amino acid responsible for umami (the “fifth-taste”) – and Japanese Konbu(昆布) has it in spades. This edible kelp, typically cultivated in Hokkaido in the north of Japan, is a key ingredient in making dashi – but has many uses and preparations. It is typically sold dry, but may be used fresh along with sashimi or pickled in vinegar. First year konbu comprises much of what makes it to the market to be consumed, and has a thinner consistency and lighter taste. Ma-Konbu (meaning ‘real konbu’) is thicker after having been given a second year to grow and is thicker with a more rounded depth of flavor.
Recipes using kelp/kombu:
- Kombu dashi
- Seared salmon with kombu broth
- Kombu ginger chicken soup
- Cucumber, ginger and salty kombu salad