Learning to saute seaweed is a crucial step for many common Asian dishes. Seaweed is most frequently available in U.S. markets in packages of thin, dried-out strips, which can pose a cooking challenge for many cooks used to using fresh ingredients (especially since sauteing in general is often viewed as a difficult cooking technique). While dried seaweed can be eaten as-is, it gains exceptional richness from sauteing, and the process is actually quite simple and can be accomplished by even a cooking novice.
To saute seaweed, you will need:
- 1 pack dried seaweed
- Medium-sized mixing bowl or pan
- Medium frying pan
- 2 Tbs. light cooking oil or sesame oil
- Break the seaweed strips into two-inch pieces and place into the mixing bowl or pan.
- Add just enough cool water to cover the seaweed (it will float slightly), and stir to dampen.
- Allow the seaweed to soak for twenty minutes.
- Strain the seaweed to remove excess water.
- Add oil to frying pan, and heat to medium-high.
- Add the seaweed to the frying pan and saute for three to five minutes.
- Season as desired.
Tips: Be careful not to saute the seaweed for too long, or it can become mushy and lose its flavor. Using sesame oil will add a rich, bright taste to the seaweed while enhancing its natural flavors, but regular cooking oil or light olive oil can be substituted in a pinch. Never use dried seaweed when a recipe calls for sauteing; the flavor and texture will be greatly altered.