Hijiki is a delicious string-like or thread-like sea vegetable that is very high in calcium and iron (as are all sea vegetables). It is virtually interchangeable with arame (described next) although it takes longer to cook hijiki. It has a strong ocean aroma that disappears after it is cooked off, so don't let the initial fragrance prevent you from using it. It is delicious with other vegetables.
Arame (pronounced "are-ah-meh") appears to be another "stringy" sea vegetable like hijiki when you buy it, but it is actually a flat seaweed that is finely sliced to its stringy appearance. Because it is sliced, the cut edges are exposed and it therefore cooks slightly faster than hijiki. It is nonetheless interchangeable in hijiki recipes. However, it can be used in soups and pilafs more easily than hijiki.
Remember that hijiki and arame are interchangeable in the following recipes.
Arame With Corn (or Carrots) 1 oz. Arame (dry weight) ½ tsp. Sesame oil 1C Onions sliced vertically into thin crescents
Water, as needed 2-3 Tbsp. Low-sodium soy sauce 1-2 C Fresh corn kernels or 1 C julienned carrots
Wash and drain the arame.
After washing, be sure to place in a separate bowl to eliminate any sand that may be present. Lightly oil a frying pan, add a little water and heat it. Sauté the onions for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring gently. (If using carrots, add julienned carrots at this time on the onions.) Place the arame on top and enough water to cover the onions. Add a little low-sodium soy sauce. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn flame to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. Place the corn on top and a little more soy sauce to taste. Simmer for another 10 or so minutes or until the water is nearly gone. Makes 4 portions. (1 portion with corn = 256.3 calories, 3.6 grams fat, 11% protein, 77% carbohydrates, 12% fat) (1 portion with carrots instead of corn = 51.8 calories, 0.8 grams fat, 13% protein, 75% carbohydrates, 13% fat)
Hijiki With Onions (or Other Vegetables) 1 oz. Hijiki or arame (dry weight) ½ tsp. Sesame oil 2 Onions or other vegetables such as carrots, burdock root, lotus root, or tofu
Water, as needed Low-sodium soy sauce to taste (about 2 to 3 Tbsp.) dash Sweetener such as barley malt (optional)
Wash and rinse the hijiki in a strainer or colander. After washing, be sure to place in a separate bowl to drain to eliminate any sand that may be present. Then soak hijiki for about 10 minutes. While soaking, slice onion vertically into thin crescents. Lightly oil a frying pan, and heat it. Add the onions and a little water and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Place the hijiki on top of the onions and add water to cover the onions. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, then add a small amount of low-sodium soy sauce. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes (depending on the vegetable). Add soy sauce to taste. Simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the liquid is almost gone. Makes 4 to 6 portions. (1 portion = 36.3 calories, 0.6 grams fat, 14% protein, 72% carbohydrates, 14% fat)