When I say noodles I suspect you don’t immediately think of sea spaghetti. Yet this member of the seaweed group of ingredients is noodle-like in shape and texture. I have them in the pantry to soak and drape over salads or mix with rice and (real) noodle dishes to add a deep umami flavour. It spreads a deep, saline, addictive flavour throughout a dish.
Sea spaghetti has a similar texture to rice noodles, and with that gloriously salty kick it makes a brilliant accompaniment to other dishes. I bought it online but you might be able to find it at large Asian supermarkets.
I’ve also sprinkled toasted and crumbled dried sea spaghetti over rice and salad dishes, cooked it with real noodles and pasta, cooked it in soups and sauces, stir fried it with vegetables and thrown it into curries. I hear you can deep fry it coated in a light batter or semolina flour. It needs to be cooked right to the point of al dente – even a bit beyond, and I love it with light and fresh ingredients.
The basics of this recipe comes from Ottolenghi’s Simple, a book of simpler flavours and even simpler cooking procedures when compared to his other books. I love this book, along with his others, but after years of cooking from his other books, the recipes in Simple seem not-quite-Ottolenghi’ish in a nice, humorous sort of way. I took his recipe and added some Japanese seaweed, edamame and noodles to the dish.
Similar recipes include Sea Spaghetti, Ginger and Carrot Salad.
Sea Spaghetti, Cucumber, Edamame and Sesame Salad with Tahini Dressing
Nanami togarashi is a Japanese chilli seasoning (I love it), but use regular chilli flakes work if you don’t have it.
Serve this salad as soon as you’ve mixed it together, because the cucumber will make it watery if it is left to sit around for too long.
50g dried sea spaghetti
1 cucumber, cut in half lengthways, deseeded, then cut into julienne strips
20g white or black sesame seeds (or a mixture of both)
15g coriander leaves
½ tsp nanami togarashi or chilli flakes
4 – 6 Tblspn edamame
50g Korean salted seaweed (available frozen in Asian groceries) – this is optional. If you want to use it, it needs to be soaked overnight – see the instructions on the pack
50g Japanese or Chinese thin noodles, cooked
1 tspn honey
1.5 tspn rice-wine vinegar
1 Tblspn mirin
1 tspn dijon mustard
1.5 tspn soy sauce
1 Tblspn tahini paste
1 Tblspn peanut oil
Put all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Put the seaweed in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until al dente. Drain, refresh under cold water, pat dry and leave to cool.
Put the seaweed in a large bowl, add the cucumber, sesame seeds, edamame, Japanese seaweed, coriander and dressing, and toss. Taste and season with sea salt if needed. Divide between bowls (or arrange on one large serving platter), sprinkle with the chilli and serve at once.
recipe notes and alternatives
Great served with a little rice, sticky rice (yum) – the noodles can be omitted if serving with rice. Make a little extra dressing to drizzle over the rice.