Hijiki Seaweed Salad ひじきの煮物

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Hijiki Salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Have you heard of hijiki before?  Yes, I’m talking about this strange looking black ingredient in this dish.  Hijiki seaweed is a type of wild seaweed that grows on rocky coastlines around Japan, Korea, and China.

If you haven’t seen hijiki seaweed before, the first impression might be unappetizing.  While I was hesitant to share this dish on Just One Book because of how it looks, there was someone I met who was passionate about this dish and has been promoting this traditional Japanese ingredient here in San Francisco.

Back in January, I was invited to a Japan Food Festival hosted by The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan (農林水産省) at the residence of the Consul General of Japan in San Francisco.  The event was to promote the trending Japanese ingredients and seasonings (such as shio koji), and chefs from the top Japanese restaurants in San Francisco showcased their original tasting menu items using Japanese ingredients.

At the reception, I had a pleasure to meet Mr. Iwata (Iwata-san), the owner of a Japanese-style delicatessen DELICA at Ferry Building in San Francisco.  We were talking about the Japanese food in the Bay Area and how it has transformed over the past 10 years.  There are a lot more Japanese restaurants in the area that serves a variety of Japanese food.  We also discussed how we can introduce real Japanese food (that we actually eat in  Japan) to people in the Bay Area.

Hijiki Salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

While we were talking about Japanese ingredients that are still unfamiliar in the U.S., Iwata-san told me a story about using hijiki in one of his menus and how his customers responded.  He heard many customers saying they can’t eat something look like worms.

However, Iwata-san was confident that people will like it once they try it and kept serving the hijiki seaweed salad.  Now it has become really popular and it’s one of their signature lunch items.  When I mentioned to him that I had been scared to introduce hijiki seaweed on my blog for this same reason, he encouraged me to promote this traditional Japanese dish and healthy ingredient.

Hijiki Salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Hijiki seaweed actually is green or brown in color when fishermen and divers harvest in the wild.  It is boiled and then dried, and this process turns hijiki black.  So when you buy dried hijiki seaweed (found at Japanese supermarkets, Asian grocery stores, and natural food stores), you always need to soak in water before cooking.

Hijiki contains dietary fiber and essential minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium and this traditional food has been a part of a balanced diet in Japan for centuries.

One of the most common hijiki dish is this Hijiki Salad, where hijiki is cooked with vegetables, konnyaku, and other foods in soy sauce and sugar.  I really like how my mom cooks her Hijiki Salad, and this is close enough to how I remember how she cooks it.

Here’s the quick cooking video for Hijiki Salad.  Hope you enjoy!

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Hijiki Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Seasonings
Instructions
  1. Soak dried hijiki in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes.
    Hijiki Salad 1
  2. Drain to a large fine sieve and wash under the running water.
    Hijiki Salad 2
  3. Boil water in a small saucepan and pour on top of aburaage. This will remove the oil coated on the aburaage (manufacture’s oil doesn’t taste good, so this extra step will improve flavor of aburaage.). Cut in half lengthwise and slice thinly.
    Hijiki Salad 3
  4. Add water and konnyaku in a small pot and boil for 3 minutes to remove the smell. It also makes konnyaku absorb flavors more and improves the texture.
    Hijiki Salad 4
  5. Cut the carrots into julienne pieces.
    Hijiki Salad 5
  6. Cut the lotus root into thinly pieces.
    Hijiki Salad 6
  7. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add carrot and lotus root and cook until they are coated with oil.
    Hijiki Salad 7
  8. Add the hijiki, then konnyaku and aburaage. Mix all together.
    Hijiki Salad 8
  9. Add the dashi and let it boil.
    Hijiki Salad 9
  10. Add all the seasonings and mix well. Cook covered on medium low heat.
    Hijiki Salad 10
  11. After 30 minutes, add the edamame.
    Hijiki Salad 11
  12. Cook uncovered to reduce the sauce until you see the bottom of the pan. Put the leftover in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
    Hijiki Salad 12
Notes
It might be hard to find optional ingredients. In that case, replace them with other ingredients you like.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

 

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  1. I think I’ve had Hijiki before in Japan, but did not know what it was. And from your recipe, it is easy to do and if memory serves me right, it’s quite delicious. I know some vegetarian bloggers who will enjoy this. Thanks for sharing, Nami. How nice of you to take the time to visit my blog with your support. Have a good week ahead!

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  2. This seaweed salad is a very intriguing combination of ingredients. I would try it but would be unlikely to make it due to the preparation method required especially for a single meal which is all I would probably have. :)

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  3. Hi Nami, first time I am seeing this type of seaweed, reminds me of the black fungus when cut into strips…don’t think I can find it here but it would be great if I could try it…I was wondering what the konnyaku was when I had it here in a Japanese hotpot, now I know:D

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  4. It’s the same in DC! Last summer I didn’t see any hijiki, but now it’s on some of the more authentic menus, definitely the izakayas. I’ve played with hijiki a bit this semester. Although I make it in a more traditional way now, my first try was a stew with parsnips and yams! It was DELICIOUS combining the salty and sweet!

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  5. I’ve not heard of this. And when I really look at the pictures, it does look a tad weird — but really, my eye is drawn to the color of the edamame (garnish is so important in food photography, isn’t it?). Definitely something I should try sometime — if you say it’s delish, I believe you!

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  6. わあ、もう何十年とひじき食べてないなあ。 こんなご飯の友みたいな一品は懐かしくて、恋しい思いがしますよ。 なみちゃん、いつも本格的だよね。偉いぞ!

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  7. Penny

    Hello Nami,
    I’m glad you share this hijiki salad with us. My Japanese friend once made this for me when I was pregnant and she said this is her all time super food. I then was thinking how to made this salad but didn’t manage because I didn’t know that the hijiki has to be cooked…….;)
    Thanks a lot Nami!

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    • Hi Penny! You’re welcome! It’s a very common home cook meal, and a lot of us grow up eating this dish. :) Yes, hijiki needs to be cooked before using it. :) Thank you for your comment!

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  8. Ok, I need to find hijiki in New Zealand now!! I love eating seaweed, I ate so many types in Japan (this one too probably, but I am not sure…) and it is truly amazing food. In fact I don’t like the English name seaweed, it should be sea vegetables! In Italian is Alga (algae) more logical to me, although I think a lot of people don’t find that word appetizing. But they are so delicious!!

    Thank you for the recipe

    Ciao
    Alessandra

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  9. Sera

    I love hijiki salad and have been meaning to make it for ages! Usually I buy it from Atari-ya in London but now I will try your recipe! Thanks very much (:

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    • Hi Sera! Good to know you can get Hijiki in London too! I think there are more real Japanese foods like Hijiki in big cities. I hope you enjoy this dish! :)

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  10. Hi Nami
    Thank you so much for this nice dish.
    It’s really important for everyone to know real Japanese food and not only sushi and makis…
    In Paris in the Japanese neighborhood, there are restaurants typical Japanese restaurants and some Japanese supermarkets.
    Unfortunately the product sold there are a bit expensive and are not often explained to the customers.
    I am always frustrated to be in front of vegetables for example and to do not know how to prepare them.
    Do not hesitate to offer us traditional Japanese recipes, we will give it a try too.
    Chantal

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  11. I’ve never heard of that type of seaweed before but I do love the presentation of this dish and how it has that gorgeous touch of apple green. It looks lovely, Nami xx

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  12. I’m so glad you posted this recipe, Nami. Hijiki is one of my favorite things, but I always buy prepared. It will be nice to adjust the seasonings.

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  13. So many unusual ingredients are so nutritious and delicious. I love learning about things like this. I like how you added pops of color to the dish. I think I would like this very much…looks terrific to me, Nami.

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  14. Dumpling Love (@cscc28)

    I LOVE hijiki!! I kept eating it for breakfast at the breakfast buffets in Japan. I like adding it to my rice congee hehe. Thanks for sharing the recipe! Def going to make this!

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  15. なみさんのようにひじきの健康的な特徴で紹介させていただいたことは賢いです。最近方々はよく健康を守っているそうですね。因にひじきの煮物の写真は素敵!

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  16. I love the use of the lotus root in this salad and it is so beautiful. Dark colors can be just as appealing as bright ones and you proved that with this dish! You are so creative and I love all the extras you are doing with your posts like the videos and such! Keep it up!

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  17. Rachel

    I just discovered your site and I love it! I returned yesterday from a trip to Japan. The first half of my trip was spent with a Japanese vegetarian man. We ate so many wonderful things. Your site is a great resource. Thank you for sharing so many recipes.

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    • Hi Rachel! Welcome to Just One Cookbook! I hope you had a great time in Japan. Hope my site has some recipes that you enjoyed while you were traveling in Japan. :)

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  18. I think it looks fantastic Nami – I’m a big fan of seaweed salads so this is totally delicious to me and I would love to make it at home. Thanks for sharing another great recipe :)

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  19. judy

    Hi Nami,

    thanks for sharing your Hijiki recipe on your blog. I got to know hijiki Seaweed from a Japanese friend. After trying hijiki, I liked it a lot. However, I have read on the internet that hijiki contains certain a high level of Arsenic. And I really looked up on the internet. Unfortunately, some food agencies in UK even advice consumers do NOT eat Hijiki seaweed due to this reason. Please see the link i attach. I also told my Japanese friend about what I read. After looking on the internet, he said that he agrees with me. So I am actually not quite sure about whether it is okay to eat Hijiki or not.

    http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2010/08/13/consumers-advised-not-to-eat-hijiki-seaweed.html

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    • Hi Judy! Thank you for sharing the information with us! I also read some articles too. It looks like if you don’t eat A LOT of hijiki EVERY DAY, the risk is not high. I think this is an issue when you consume so much hijiki… but no one really eat that much hijiki anyway. So the basic summary I learned from reading was to eat hijiki occasionally then it doesn’t affect our health.

      However, this is up to a person’s comfortable level regarding this issue. Personally I don’t eat it everyday or even every week (maybe once a month at most?) so as long as research result doesn’t change, we should be okay to eat. Hope this helps. :)

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  20. Nami, I’m glad you shared the recipe. People all have different tastes and we just can’t appeal to them with all of our recipes. I don’t think it looks like worms (crazy) and think it looks quite appetising — but I love to try new foods.:) Great recipe and video!

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  21. Hi Nami!
    I’ve just returned from two weeks in Japan where I have been enjoying this hijiki salad, and was just wondering how I could recreate it. It’s so different to the normal green wakame salad, which I also love, but I feel this is much healthier, especially if its home made and not frozen from a packet. Thank you for sharing! :)

    xx gemma
    Come visit me @ gemmachew.com !

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  22. People are nowadays as fussy with food as small children! I would never guess hijiki might look not appetising… Your salad looks amazing (and there are also my beloved edamame!). I’m ashamed to admit I have had hijiki for at least two years and never used them. I simply haven’t stumbled upon any recipe and forgot I had them, so I’m thrilled to see you have decided to post a dish with them. Thank you, once more, Nami!

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  23. Lara

    Looks delicious! I found Hijiki in a Japanese shop in Amsterdam. I used it like wake me. That was not a great succes, but now I understand, it has to be boiled much longer!
    Question: with what dishes is this nice to combine? I like al the different small Japanese dishes, but if you want to make a meal out of it, it seems like I have to be in the kitchen all day:-)

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    • Hi Lara! Yes, hijiki needs to be cooked for a longer time, and hydrating doesn’t work. :)

      My personal choice is to cook hijiki with rice (Takikomi gohan – rice season with soy sauce, mirin, sake, etc). I hope to share the recipe one day. Also, I add it into “Chicken Meatballs” recipe, instead of colorful bell pepper. So delicious! Hope you give these recipes a try!

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  24. It’s amazing at all the ingredients I never heard of. You are seriously educating me to venture out and try new things. I would love to see how this seaweed tastes. :) On a side note… you have excellent knife skills. I can never chop so finely. :)

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  25. Ayako L.

    I love Hijiki! I love this dish too much, I can eat it with a huge bowl of rice!!
    If there were only Hijiki and cooked rice in the house, I will be happy to eat them for dinner or lunch…or breakfast!
    I’d like to make this soon, but I have to make it without Konnyaku & Renkon…since I can’t buy them around here :(

    Thanks for the great recipe :)

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    • Hi Ayako! Me too! Use ingredients you have. I sometimes just use carrots and aburaage besides hijiki. :) Aburaage or small pieces of pork slices give nice flavor. :) Thank you so much for your kind comment!

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  26. Hi Nami! I love all of the ingredients in this salad. I especially love seaweed and can’t wait to try the Hijiki seaweed. Looks very healthy and full of nutrients.

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  27. Ooh, I think I’d be all over this – I don’t think I ever heard of or had it before but it looks lovely. Worst case scenario I could pick out the edamame, lotus root and carrot, but I guess the rest is delicious!

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  28. I had a hijiki salad somewhere, but it was just carrots and hijiki in a seasoned sauce. I like that you added edamame for color and protein!

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  29. Pigkiki

    I had this dish in Japan for breakfast. I loved it. Don’t be afraid to post, this is what makes your blog different. Keep posting traditional Japanese dishes.

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  30. dancing rabbit

    Thank you for your beautiful and useful website. I used your hijiki no nimono and inarizushi recipes to share my love of Japanese food with my friends here in Southern Germany, where i am living right now. I had just returned from a visit to Tokyo to visit my former exchange students, and the tastes were just like my “daughters” made for me during my visit. Everyone loved the food, and I have translated your recipes into German, with a link to your website so they can enjoy the pictures, plus directions to the little Japanese grocery store that I visit in Munich.

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    • Hi Dancing Rabbit! I’m so happy to hear you and your friends enjoyed my recipes! Glad to hear you can get ingredients in Munich. I often wonder how hard it is to find Japanese grocery items in other countries. I’m happy to hear you stay in touch with your “daughters” in Japan! My mom stayed in touch with her “parents” in the US for 45 years until they passed away recently. :)

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  31. Susy

    This recipe looks great except for the addition of white sugar. I’ve soaked my hijiki in water and then simmered it down in apple cider (juice, not vinegar) and it gives it a delicate sweetness without the sugar burn.

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  32. Alex

    I’ve noticed that a lot of your recipes have sugar added to them. Would it affect the taste much if I omitted it?

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  33. Alina

    Dear Nami,

    I’ve just ordered Hijiki in the internet since it’s nowhere to be found! When I was in Japan I always ordered a portion of this salad at Sukiya. Of course then I didn’t know neither how it was called nor what the ingredients were… Thank god I found your recipe!!!

    Quick question… How do you cook edamame exactly? Here we can only buy them frozen.

    And how much hijiki are you allowed to eat per day? I heard somewhere that since it contains a lot of iodine it you shouldn’t overdo it…

    Thank you!!

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    • Hi Alina! Happy to hear you like this recipe (I know it doesn’t look so appetizing!).

      If you get frozen edamamae, follow the package instruction. But usually you need to boil for a few minutes and drain. You can then remove the edamame from the shell.

      I read in Japanese and English articles that you have to eat A LOT and EVERYDAY to be dangerous. If you eat normal amount once in a while, it’s completely okay. But please research more if you’re worried. :)

      Hope you enjoy this dish!

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