Algae can be useful in many different situations. Algae are for instance used as food for humans as well as for live stock, and it is also included in various health products and cosmetics. Seaweed is predominately gulped down in South-East Asia, especially in China, Japan, and Korea, but it is becoming more and more popular outside this range for each year that passes.
If you want to include more algae in your diet you can for instance try red algae from the genus Porphyra. In Asian cuisine, this alga is commonly referred to as nori. It is not commonly eaten fresh; it is instead harvested, dried and pressed into thin sheets. These sheets are then used in all sorts of dishes, from sushi and soups to sauces and condiments. The two most commonly used species of red algae are Porphyra yezoensis and Porphyra tenera.
Do you think that you have never eaten algae? I think you have! As a matter of fact, the next time you gulp down some ice cream or pour syrup over your desert you might be eating brown algae. Alginic acid, a popular stabilizer for emulsions and suspensions, is derived from brown algae. In addition to the food industry, it is also appreciated by paint producers.
Brown algae are not the only type of algae that can be used to stabilize food. Red algae are used to make the products Agar and Carrageenan which works wonders when you need to stabilize food products such as puddings and canned meat. Agar is also used by scientists who need to grow bacteria, fungi and cell structures on a nutritious gel, while Carrageenan is a popular addition to shampoos.
Wish to try some mouth-watering algae dishes in your own kitchen? Here is a recipe for Seaweed Soup.
o 1 pound of ground pork
o 2 quarts of water
o 1 cube of chicken bouillon
o 1 (8 ounce) can of sliced water chestnuts
o 3 sheets of nori (dry seaweed)
o 1 egg
o Salt to taste
o 4 green onions
o 3/4 teaspoon of sesame oil
What to do:
1.) Cook the ground pork over medium heat until browned. Use a large saucepan because you will be adding more ingredients.
2.) Drain off excess fat.
3.) Add water and bring it to a boil.
4.) Reduce the heat down to medium again and leave the dish to simmer without a lid on for roughly 15 minutes.
5.) Stir in the bouillon cube and make sure that it dissolves completely.
6.) Add the chestnuts.
7.) Break the nori into peaces and add to the saucepan.
8.) Beat the egg in a separate bowl.
9.) Stir in the egg.
10.) Add salt to taste.
11.) Chop the green onions.
12.) Remove the saucepan from the heat before adding the onions.
13.) Stir in sesame oil.
14.) Bon appetite!