Make Ahead

Basic Hijiki no Nimono

February 22, 2016
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This recipe is just that: basic. Rehydrating dried mehijiki will take 30 minutes, but if you prep your vegetables during that time, the actual cooking takes only about 15. You'll be rewarded with a comforting, umami-rich side dish with a concentrated savory flavor that can be eaten on its own or used as a topping or mix-in with rice. If you want to embellish, lotus root, soybeans, tofu, and/or leftover chicken all make nice additions. The recipe is easily doubled and keeps for a week in the refrigerator. —Katie Okamoto

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup dried hijiki
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 4 to 5 medium/large fresh shiitake mushrooms, rubbed clean and destemmed
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • sea salt to taste
  1. Cover dried hijiki generously with lukewarm water, at least 1 1/2 cups. Leave for 30 minutes to rehydrate.
  2. While the hijiki is soaking, whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat very gently over low heat to help dissolve the sugar but don't allow the mixture to simmer. Set aside.
  3. After the hijiki has soaked for 30 minutes, drain through a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cool water, swishing with your hands. Set the strainer over a container to catch the water and allow the hijiki to continue to drain.
  4. While the hijiki is draining, cut carrots into 1-inch-long matchsticks and shiitake mushrooms into slivers, also about 1 inch long. If using other vegetables, aim for about the same size cuts for those as well. The idea is for all the vegetables and the rehydrated hijiki to be similar in size, as for a slaw.
  5. In a large sauté pan (a wide Dutch oven works well, too), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and mushrooms and any other vegetables you are using and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent browning. The carrots should be al dente.
  6. Add the drained hijiki to the pan. Give the soy sauce mixture a quick whisk to dissolve any sugar that has come out of solution, and drizzle it around the pan. Lower the heat slightly and let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has absorbed.
  7. Turn off the heat. Mix in toasted sesame seeds, if using, and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve at or slightly below room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • Natalie R.
    Natalie R.
Katie is a writer and home cook based in Brooklyn.

2 Reviews

Natalie R. August 10, 2016
I made this recipe and have to disagree with the previous review. I ate this dish fairly often in Japan, and adding one blanched aburaage (fried tofu skin) block made the recipe spot-on. I'll admit that I used something called "hon mirin", which is true mirin containing no added sugar, but even standard sweetened mirin couldn't have made it too sweet. There just isn't enough of it. At most, if you use sweetened sake, reduce the sugar to maybe 2 tsp. However, hon mirin is hard to find in Japan just like in the US, so sweetened sake is probably intended. Yes, we often make our Asian food too sweet, but mirin and this recipe are rare cases when we don't. I've translated many hijiki no nimono recipes, and this one is extremely similar. Many translated recipes actually had more sugar than even this! I was extremely satisfied- thank you for posting it!

That said, this recipe is not fast if you take the time to cut the carrots into the correct size. Also, if you want to add aburaage, add it with the hijiki. Other authentic mix-ins are julienned burdock (soak in water while you chop the carrot and cook the two together), and edamame or cooked mature soy beans (added at the end.
LeBec F. February 23, 2016
I am thrilled to see you doing this feature! Hijiki (along with nori sheets used in sushi making) is probably the most familiar seaweed for americans; hijiki has been used in Whole Foods' prepared foods for decades. My one suggestion for your hijiki recipes and use-- is that you begin by really cutting the sugar component. Mirin as it is found in the U.S., is primarily sugar, and sake is sweet as well, so imo,sugar is unnecessary in the recipe above, and i'd recommend your trying it withOUT sugar and then adding it if you need it. I think that Japanese food, like Chinese food, when it is translated in the U.S.,-- can often be unnecessarily sweet. 52 is , admirably, starting to feature 'the need for sugar cutting' in a number of ways these days, so I hope you'll join those efforts as well! And please keep up the seaweed focus! Thanks much.