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Hijiki Seaweed Salad (Hijiki No Nimono) ひじきの煮物

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  • A classic Japanese side dish, Hijiki Seaweed Salad features a type of wild seaweed that is highly nutritious. It is simmered together with a myriad of vegetables in a savory dashi broth. The result is so full of flavor and perfect for meal prep. 

    A ceramic dish containing Hijiki Seaweed Salad.

    If you’re looking to include more sea vegetables into your diet, you’d want to give hijiki a try. Resembling dried tea leaves but lengthier, hijiki is a type of wild seaweed that grows on rocky coastlines around Japan, Korea, and China. It has a sweet, clean taste and mushroom-like quality. In Japan, we often enjoy it as Hijiki No Nimono (ひじきの煮物) which translates to ‘simmered hijiki’.

    It is technically a cooked dish, but you’d find it being called Hijiki Seaweed Salad at Japanese restaurants in the US.

    What is Hijiki Seaweed?

    Dried Hijiki Seaweed

    Hijiki seaweed is naturally green or brown in color when it’s hand-harvested by fishermen and divers in the wild. Before being packaged, it is boiled and then dried, and this process turns hijiki black. You will need to rehydrate it by soaking in the water prior to cooking.

    Like the other edible sea vegetables, hijiki is known for its dietary fiber and essential minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium. What’s special about hijiki is it has a pleasant crunch and chewy bite after cooking. The taste is more earthy rather than oceany. The Japanese have been enjoying this traditional food as a part of a balanced diet for centuries.

    Ingredients You’ll Need:

    • Dried hijiki seaweed – You can look for it at Japanese supermarkets, Asian grocery stores, natural food stores, OR online.
    • Aburaage (fried tofu pouch) – You get a lot of flavors from Aburaage.
    • Carrots – It adds color and nutrition.
    • Edamame – The soybeans provide plant-based protein and satisfying bite to the simmered salad.
    • Lotus root (renkon) – Optional, but it adds a nice texture.
    • Konnyaku (konjac) –  Optional. A jelly-like plant food that is unique to Japanese cuisine. It’s very low in calories and high in fiber.
    • Dashi – You can choose to use homemade dashi or dashi packet.
    • Seasonings – soy sauce, mirin, and sugar

    You can leave out the optional ingredients, but Hikiji Salad always includes aburaage and edamame.

    How to Make Hijiki Seaweed Salad

    There are various ways to prepare Hijiki No Nimono, but I really love my mom’s version, so this is very close to how she cooks the dish.

    First, we’ll soak the hijiki seaweed in plenty of water for 30 minutes. While it soaks, we prepare the rest of the ingredients. Once ready, start by sauteeing julienned carrots and lotus roots, followed by the rehydrated hijiki, aburaage (fried tofu pouch), and konnyaku (konjac). Cook the vegetables in dashi broth and season with soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. Let everything simmers together for about 30 minutes. At this point, add in edamame and continue to simmer until the sauce is cooked down.

    Once it has soaked up the seasonings, let cool to room temperature so the flavors have a chance to mingle and settle in. The salad is savory, sweet, and pleasantly crunchy. We would serve the Hijiki No Nimono at room temperature and enjoy it as a side dish to a larger part of a Japanese meal. It is often included in a set meal (like Lunch Menu Set) and a bento box.

    A classic Japanese side dish, Hijiki Seaweed Salad features a type of wild seaweed that is highly nutritious. It is simmered together with a myriad of vegetables in a savory dashi broth. The result is so full of flavor and perfect for meal prep. 

    Tips on Making Hijiki Salad

    • Be generous on seasoning –  When a dish is eaten at room temperature, you want to be generous with the seasonings so the flavors can come through. Do not cut down on the sugar as we use it to balance the salt and enhance the overall taste.
    • Don’t skip aburaage (Fried Tofu Pouch) – The sponge-like texture of the aburaage gives great depth, mouthfeel, and flavor to the dish, so don’t skip it.
    • Make a big batch – The simmered hijiki is exactly the kind of dish that Japanese home cooks include in their meal prep. It keeps well and can easily enjoy throughout the week. You can mix it with white steamed rice to make Maze Gohan (Mixed Rice), or top it over soba noodles, or use it to make rice balls.

    A ceramic dish containing Hijiki Seaweed Salad.

    Itadakimasu!

    With contrasting texture and a concentrated sweet-savory flavor, Hijiki Seaweed Salad makes a truly unique Japanese dish that highlights the beauty of sea vegetables. I hope you enjoy it.

    Try serving Hijiki Seaweed Salad with Grilled Mackerel, Japanese Spinach Salad with Sesame Dressing, White Steamed Rice (Takikomi Gohan), and Miso Soup for a Japanese-style ichiju sansai meal.

    A ceramic dish containing Hijiki Seaweed Salad.

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    4.67 from 15 votes
    A ceramic dish containing Hijiki Seaweed Salad.
    Hijiki Salad (Hijiki No Nimono)
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    40 mins
    Total Time
    50 mins
     

    A classic Japanese side dish, Hijiki Seaweed Salad features a type of wild seaweed that is highly nutritious. It is simmered together with a myriad of vegetables in a savory dashi broth. The result is so full of flavor and perfect for meal prep. 

    Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: nimono, seaweed
    Servings: 4
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    Seasonings:
    • 4 Tbsp mirin
    • 2 Tbsp sugar (Reduce the amount in half if you like; Hijiki Salad is typically on the sweet side for preserving purpose. Especially when packing it in a bento box, it tastes better as we eat it at room temperature)
    • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Hijiki Salad Ingredients
    2. Soak dried hijiki in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes.

      Hijiki Salad 1
    3. Drain to a large fine sieve and wash under the running water.

      Hijiki Salad 2
    4. Boil water in a small saucepan and pour it over the aburaage. This will remove the excess oil coated on the aburaage. Cut in half lengthwise and slice thinly.

      Hijiki Salad 3
    5. 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
    6. Cut the carrots into julienne pieces.

      Hijiki Salad 5
    7. Cut the lotus root into thin pieces.

      Hijiki Salad 6
    8. 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
    9. Add the hijiki, then konnyaku and aburaage. Mix all together.

      Hijiki Salad 8
    10. Add the dashi and let it boil.

      Hijiki Salad 9
    11. Add all the seasonings and mix well. Cook covered on medium-low heat.

      Hijiki Salad 10
    12. After 30 minutes, add the edamame.

      Hijiki Salad 11
    13. Cook uncovered to reduce the sauce until you see the bottom of the pan.

      Hijiki Salad 12
    To Store
    1. Store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze it for up to a month.

    Recipe 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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