Who knew local food could taste so exotic? This simple soup is delicately flavoured with winged sea kelp, an ingredient that is abundant in our area of the world and needlessly feared by wimpy palates everywhere. Yes, we all learned quickly to avoid getting tangled in the stuff whilst frolicking in the waves as wee pups and it really is a pisser to step in a wayward kelp pile during a romantic stroll along the Pacific Coast, but have you tried it in soup? Yum city!
Winged kelp is also known as wild wakame or alaria. According to the good folks at Dakini Tidal Wilds, a local company based in Sooke, BC that harvests and packages all sorts of seaweed treats off the coast of Vancouver Island, kelp is chock-o’block full of various vitamins and minerals and throws’em at us in a way that is readily absorbed by our humble mortal bodies. And, in these crazy times, who could hate on something touted as a natural purifier, particularly astute at removing “heavy metals and the by-products of radiation.” Not that I’m an overly paranoid fear monger. I’m not. Juts don’t ask my husband about any of my “theories.”
Beyond the health benefits (did I mention kelp is a calcium powerhouse?), wakame/alaria/kelp lends a complex, salty, seafood-y flavour to food–a delicious hint of umami that I bet you didn’t even know you were missing. Trust me, you’ll like it. And if you don’t, you have my permission to go back to using kelp solely as an awesome thing to chuck at your unsuspecting friends on the beach.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- sea salt, to taste
- 3-4 large pieces sea kelp, broken into smaller pieces
- 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, chopped rough
- 1 cup green cabbage, chopped rough
- 1 cup kale, chopped rough
- 1/2 cup extra firm tofu, cubed (optional)
- 1/4 cup rice noodles, (optional)
- 5-6 cups water
1. In a large sauce pan, over medium-high heat, sauté onions and garlic in a little salted water until tender.
2. Add another cup of water and sea kelp. Bring to a simmer.
3. Add mushrooms, kale, cabbage and tofu (if using) along with the rest of the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until cabbage and sea kelp are tender. Add rice noodles to broth, if using, and allow to soak for 5 minutes before serving. Radiation…be gone!!!!!