1. Kombu is an edible variety of kelp that is commonly used in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines. It is sold in large, dry sheets. Kombu is high in iodine as well as glutamate, which provides its umami properties. 00:04
2. Kombu can be prepared and used in a few different ways. One common preparation is to simmer the kombu along with vinegar and sugar. After allowing the mixture to cool, the liquid portion is perfect for flavoring sushi rice. 00:33
3. Kombu can also be used to flavor soups or stews. Chef Gregory recommends simmering kombu in a chicken stock with garlic, bacon, and scallions. The resulting flavor is aromatic and umami, and serves as a great base for a seafood chowder or chicken soup. Garnish with ginger and scallions, as desired. 01:00
4. Kombu can also be pickled. Chef Gregory recommends heating kombu in vinegar. Once cool, pour the mixture over cut cucumbers and set aside for at least 24 hours. The kombu adds an earthy, sea-like flavor to the pickled cucumbers. The resulting pickled pieces of kombu can be removed, sliced thinly, and added to salads or sautées. 01:51
What You'll Need
To learn more about making sushi, visit Chef Macku Chan’s “How to Make Perfect Sushi Rice,” “How to Make Shrimp for Sushi,” and “Basic Cucumber Roll” tutorials located at the bottom of the page.
Kombu is a key ingredient in the Japanese essential stock, dashi. To make dashi, kombu is boiled with fermented bonito flakes. Dashi is used to make miso soup.
In addition to iodine and glutamate, kombu is high in calcium, iron, and fiber.
Kombu can be purchased at most grocery stores and at specialty stores.