Seaweed soup was a regular on my family’s dinner table. I have fond memories of my mom’s version which had the Chinese seaweeds which were sold as large, round and thin sheets (I knew it as ‘ji chai’ in Teochew or Hokkien), minced pork, coriander and spring onion. I often cook this soup without the pork. The meatless version tastes just as delicious as long as it has coriander and spring onion, flavours of which combine beautifully with the seaweed.
Seaweed is not only high in fibre, but also a good source of calcium, iron, iodine and vitamins A, C, E and B12 (EUFIC, 2008). However, the calcium and iron in seaweed are in less absorbable forms compared to those from animal sources (EUFIC, 2008). While seaweed is generally very wholesome and nutritious, it should not be eaten in excess. The iodine contents in various seaweeds sold commercially can vary quite significantly (EUFIC, 2008 & FSANZ, 2012). Iodine is important for thyroid health. But, eaten in excess, iodine can actually disrupt the thyroid function (UMM, 2011).
Excess iodine and heavy metals from seaweed can therefore be a worry for those who eat large amounts of seaweed on a regular basis. A bowl or two of nourishing seaweed soup and some sushi once in a while should be just fine.
½ cup dried, cut seaweed
5 cups/1.3 quart water
2½ tsp salt-reduced vegetable stock powder
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
4 coriander, chopped
2 stalks spring onion, sliced
Soak the seaweed in a large bowl of water for 10-15 minutes. Drain, discard water & rinse.
Bring the 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the stock powder and seaweed. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Remove from heat. Stir in the coriander and spring onion. Serve immediately.
© 2012 Lusiana Njo