Amanda & Merrill

Seaweed Tempura

February 15, 2011

Seaweed Tempura

- Merrill

For the second installment in this series -- about the delicious seafood my husband and I ate on the beach in Kenya during our honeymoon -- I present seaweed tempura. The seaweed at Kiwayu was almost translucent, and emerald green. During the day, it undulated gently under our toes as we swam in the crystal clear Indian Ocean -- at night, it served as an addictive bar snack, freckled with sesame seeds and encased in a light, crisp tempura shell.

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This is my interpretation of the recipe the chef at Kiwayu kindly gave me.

Seaweed Tempura

Adapted from Kiwayu Safari Village

Serves 6 as an hors d'oeuvre

  • 1 cup seaweed
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 5 ounces soda water
  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • Soy sauce (I prefer light), for serving

1. If your seaweed is in wide strips, slice them into thin ribbons. Clean the seaweed with running water and drain it well. Set aside.

2. Stir together the flour, a pinch of salt and the sesame seeds in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in the soda water, whisking constantly.

3. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large, deep pot over a medium flame, to about 300 degrees F. In the meantime, add the seaweed to the batter and stir to combine. Carefully drop the seaweed into the hot oil by 1/2 tablespoonfuls, about 6 spoonfuls at a time. Fry until lightly golden, turning over once during cooking, and then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels while you fry the rest of the seaweed. (If the clumps of seaweed sink and stick to the bottom of the pot, don't worry -- after a minute or two you should be able to use the spoon to gently ease them from the bottom of the pot.)

4. Sprinkle the fried seaweed with salt and serve while still warm with soy sauce for dipping. 

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FrancesRen February 25, 2011
I'm trying this today :) I can't wait.
J-Dizzle February 23, 2011
Hi Merrill, My grandma told me the secret to tempura - is the soda water! Thanks very much for the tempura seaweed recipe - went out at lunch time and bought the seaweed - will be a making it this evening! :o)
alexandsnakes February 21, 2011
Merrill, do you think it was wakame? Google has lots of images of it. By dried kind, do you mean like nori? Kombu, nori and wakame are commonly sold dried where I am... wakame rehydrates nicely and I sometimes make a salad out of it. It's got a reasonable chew, not very sweet green seaweed? I think the pressed sheets of nori would fall apart if they got soggy in the batter.
gluttonforlife February 20, 2011
This looks amazing. It reminds me a bit of a wonderfully addictive snack I had in Laos, called alternately "weed crackers" or "fried river weed." Do you think I could use rice flour?
Merrill S. February 20, 2011
See Sodium Girl's comment below re: rice flour -- unfortunately, I haven't tried it myself. And so interesting to hear about the Laotian version!
Sagegreen February 20, 2011
Man would I like to go to that snackbar! Thanks for this recipe.
Merrill S. February 20, 2011
You're welcome!
alexandsnakes February 17, 2011
What was the texture like on the seaweed? Is this like the thinner crispy green seaweed, or did you make this with something like dulse? I live on the coast... I have options and I think the texture would be markedly different either way and dulse gets so sweet compared to green seaweeds.
Merrill S. February 20, 2011
I don't know many seaweed varieties -- just used a package of salted seaweed I found in a Japanese market. It's not the dried kind, though.
Sodium G. February 16, 2011
Gorgeous! So I have been playing with tempura as well and I used rice flour and beer. The coating didn't stick super well, so I dredged the veggies in cornstarch first, which worked quite nicely. But your recipe looks way simpler and like you got the perfect crust. Did you struggle with the batter at all, or did it fluff up perfectly like the picture? This makes me excited to try again!
Merrill S. February 20, 2011
The batter behaved really nicely -- simple, but effective. Let me know if you try it!
Food F. February 15, 2011
Love anything tempura!
Kitchen B. February 15, 2011
Love Tempura. Love this
Merrill S. February 15, 2011
hardlikearmour February 15, 2011
What a great use of seaweed. I've only every had those seaweed ribbons as salad, and would never have thought of making them into tempura. Thanks, Merrill!
Merrill S. February 15, 2011
I wouldn't have either -- it was a revelation.
Cara E. February 15, 2011
That looks amazing! Like fried kale, but seafood-ier.
Merrill S. February 15, 2011