Thursday, 30 June 2016
The New Type of Pasta - Seamore's I Sea Pasta
We have been eating seaweed in different forms since young. The seasoned paper thin ones are crispy, scrummy, and are kind of healthy (we try not to think too much about whether soya sauce is actually bad for us), where as the re-hydrated ones are delicious in soups (like in Miso soup). And don't let me get started on seaweed salad! It is my absolute favourite salad, and I'd be more than happy to have it every day!
When the PR from Seamore contacted me about their product I Sea Pasta, I was intrigued because their selling point was using seaweed in place of pasta (tagliatelle form), a bit like zuccini pasta/ noodles. We have only ever eaten seaweed in Oriental dishes, so I couldn't imagine the flavours of seaweed mixed with Western dishes, like with a Bolognese or Carbonara sauce.
To be very honest, I was very skeptical about using seaweed as a pasta. I was however thinking that, if this seaweed is similar to the ones we use in soups, then this will be a safer source for getting them (they are harvested in Ireland) than the ones we normally get (possibly contaminated with radiation. Yes I'm well aware of what the WHO and Japanese Government said about how safe their seafood is for consumption. I am also aware that some of their local farmers said that they wouldn't eat their own produce, and that the Japanese Government have been heavily exporting their seafood at low cost too).
I was also of course, interested in trying it out the way they suggested too, after all, there must be a reason why they confidently promote it that way.
The PR has kindly sent us a packet of 100g dried Seamore's I Sea Pasta to try for ourselves, which will make up to 500g worth of re-hydrated seaweed (for Euro4.95 per pack).
The I Sea Pasta looks more like proper seaweed than the ones we normally buy. I believe it is much less processed than the Oriental ones because of the look, and it smelled strongly of the sea (I tend to relate seaweed smell with tea leaves. This is definitely not smelling like tea leaves).
As I was entering unfamiliar territory, I decided to use the seaweed in a familiar dish first, so that I can understand the texture, smell and taste of it. So the first thing I made with it was a seaweed salad.
The texture after re-hydrating them is a lot like the meatier seaweed we use in soups. The first batch of seaweed salad was so good (albeit greasy), I was told to make more:
I first soaked the seaweed, then cooked it until tender. I then soaked it in:
1Tbsp sesame oil (quality is key if you don't want the salad to be greasy)
2Tbsp light soya sauce
1Tbsp sweet Japanese soup base sauce (it looks like soya sauce)
1Tbsp White Rice Vinegar
Dash of salt
Sprinkle of chili powder (I didn't have red chili, and I doubt the kids will like to bite into the chili)
After tasting the seasoning, I kept it soaking in an air tight container in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
I didn't cook the pasta for long enough the second time, so it was a bit tough. If you are going to try this recipe, do make sure that your seaweed is tender (with a tiny bit of crunch). Also make sure that you use high quality sesame oil, which should give a strong fragrance so that you don't need to drench your salad in oil to get enough of it.
I then finally decided to give the Western style a try. I cooked spaghetti bolognese for dinner, and had I Sea Pasta with my bolognese instead of refined carbohydrate that I have been loathing recently.
I soaked a portion of seaweed to give it a try, and boiled them for long enough to remove the smell of the sea. Now here is the beauty of seaweed: it can endure long time boiling without going all soggy on you. There is always a bit of yummy texture left.
The Seaweed Tagliatelle Bolognese looked quite enticing actually:
A bit like spinach tagliatelle really.
Then, to my amazement, the still mildly crunchy seaweed noodle ACTUALLY works with the bolognese sauce! All I could think of was: How did this work so well?!
So I was more than happy to consume the whole bowl of it. But then I do like my children to try new things, especially something I think is yummy, so I shared a tiny bit with each kid:
Clay happily tried it and loved it (and I refused to give him more), while Abby needed a firm "Just try it" before she would put a strand of seaweed with sauce in her mouth, cringing the whole time. Then came her reaction: her eyes widened while munching that mouthful of wonder.
"Oh! It really works! How did this work?"
"It's really nice isn't it!"
"Mmm *in agreement*! Can I have some more?"
And since hubby wasn't home yet, he didn't get any at all. Maybe next time hehe.
So yes, we are surprised that seaweed can be so versatile. It doesn't just work in Oriental dishes after all. We always associate seaweed with soya sauce, and maybe in Mung Bean sweet soup (over boiled Mung Beans like rice pudding, but much runnier so it's in a drinkable form), but we would have never thought that it will work so well in a dish like Bolognese.
We only have about 1/4 packet of I Sea Pasta left, so I'll be choosing a really good recipe for it. I might have to share this time, we'll see. It is safe to say that I'm more than happy to repurchase as it will be a great addition to help me cut down refined carbohydrate from our family meals.
You can buy Seamore's I Sea Pasta from their web store (in Euros), or (for the UK) in London Whole Food and The Grocery. I really hope to see them available in the rest of the country, but for now, Internet shopping is our best bet.