I have been looking for seaweeds in my local neighbourhood, and have been surprised at the scarcity and price! The range seems to be dictated by the “superfood” label rather than considering them as ingredients. The range is also limited to Dulse, Nori and Wakame, with nare a piece of kombu in sight (one shop owner even asked me what kombu was!). Sigh. A quick search online finds them at half the store price but the range remains the same in most cases. I found an online shop stocking Seaweed Spaghetti (The Essential Ingredient) and quickly ordered some.
It is a pity that it is not more common, as this recipe, one of Ottolenghi’s in Plenty More, makes great use of Sea Spaghetti. It looks like dark fettuccine and has a similar texture. Perhaps it should be called Sea Fettuccine, to be more precise. If you are keen to try this, but find it is impossible to find Sea Spaghetti, and if you have wakame in the pantry, use that. Or use any seaweed that you have or can find locally. You will just have to prepare it specifically for the type of seaweed, rather than cooking it as described in this recipe.
Sea Spaghetti, Ginger and Carrot Salad
40g dried sea spaghetti (or use wakame, but less of it)
40g young ginger, peeled and julienned
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
80ml rice wine vinegar
1 Tblspn caster sugar
1 whole cucumber, peeled, deseeded and julienned
1 large mango, peeled and julienned
70g peanuts, toasted and salted
2 Tblspn sesame seeds, toasted
2 tspn lime juice
1 Tblspn peanut oil
20g coriander leaves, chopped
20g mint leaves, shredded
Rinse the sea spaghetti in cold water, strain, cover generously with cold water and set aside for 30 minutes or according to package directions. Agitate occasionally to loosen any remaining sand from the seaweed.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drain the sea spaghetti and place it in the boiling water with the ginger. Boil for 2 minutes, add the carrots, boil for 2 minutes more, then drain and pat dry. Transfer the blanched vegetables to a large bowl and, while still hot, add the vinegar, sugar and sea salt to taste. Mix and set aside to cool.
Once cool, stir in the remaining ingredients and serve. Delicious with the taste of the sea.
recipe notes and alternatives
I like the bite of a little spring onion with this dish.