Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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wakame Undaria pinnatifida, one of the brown seaweeds, of considerable importance in Japan. The broad brown fronds are typically about 1 m (40") long and 36 cm (15") wide, with a thick mucilaginous centre rib and lobe-like projections at the sides. Sold fresh in the spring, but always obtainable in semi-dried or dried form. The texture is delicate and the taste pleasing.

In terms of quantity consumed, wakame is one of the dominant seaweeds in Japan. It is used especially in soups, but must not be simmered for more than a minute, if its abundance of nutrients is to be preserved. It can also be incorporated in salads. The calorie content is said to be zero. In powdered form, it is used to make a kind of ‘tea’, wakamecha, in the south of Japan.