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ohev'ochel

Chuka Wakame

37 posts in this topic

hi everyone! this is my first post to eGullet (gulp :blink: ) -- hope it works.

i have a question about something that i have been pondering for a while and am not sure has been answered here before. (if it has please re/direct me).

my query concerns the main ingredients of a sushi resto style salad. i have even seen it packaged in various japanese/korean stores but i have never got a straight answer as to what EXACTLY it is. the shopkeepers and resto owners keep telling me that it's "seaweed"! lol...maybe the language barrier doesn't help. the packaging just says seaweed also.

so here it goes... if anyone could tell me which TYPE of "seaweed" is used in it. i have replicated it myself at home using wakame but the texture is totally off. i also have ruled out hijiki and kombu so....what is left? [probably many i have never heard of!]. key to this salad is its crunchy texture.

i know that the other main ingredient included is agar which someone told me is dyed a bright green (oh yes, the salad is a nice bright green usually). when is agar crunchy?? :blink:

dressing ingredients are: rice vinegar, sugar/mirin, salt, sesame oil, sesame seeds, red chili.

thank you for your help -- i love this forum. constantly learning new things.

(have a picture of what it is supposed to look like; hope the photo gets attached).

gallery_46628_3214_22034.jpg

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It is a little hard to tell but it could be ao tosaka, which is popular in salads and also comes in red and white varieties.

Some pictures and a recipe for a seaweed salad that looks quite good.

The problem is I don't really seethe frilled edges that the tosaka types have, and am thinking that it may be a type of wakame called kuki wakame.

a picture

While is doesn't seem to be as popular as the ao tosaka in salads, I have seen it served that way.

EDIT

and welcome to eGullet!


Edited by torakris (log)

<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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It's hard to tell from the picture, but does this dish contain some kind of leaf vegetable as well as seaweed? And, why did you leave out kombu? The first thing that came into my head was kiri kombu or kizami kombu.

Kiri kombu and kizami kombu are often used in salad, like these:

http://www.misbit.com/recipe/mid00915.html

http://www.kikkoman.co.jp/cgi-bin/homecook...i?numb=00001232

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It looks exactly similar to a seaweed salad I adore and frequently order at restaurants. At the restaurants I eat this at as well as at the local Japanese store where I purchase it prepacked, its called chukka seaweed salad. I've tried replicating it at home as well and asked the Japanese grocer for more details. He said its a seaweed called chukka that comes from Hawaii.. I've never been able to buy just the seaweed though.. always the salad!

Now I'm really really craving this stuff ... gotta leave from work and pick up a pack on the way!

-w@w

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Very few places make it in house; they all seem to order it from somewhere. I've purchased 10 lb packages of the stuff -- I like it that much.

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hi guys -- thank you for your replies so far. the question i posted is interesting to me in that the answer seems so elusive, like it's some kind of "secret" ingredient :laugh: .

worm@work was right, it's called chukka salad in restaurants [and like kent said, it's available often in bags or containers already prepared] but i am not so sure about the "chukka seaweed" part. i know there is seaweed called OGO from Hawaii but have no clue what the texture of it is like. worm is right though, it's addictive -- and good enough to buy in a 10 lb bag!!

tokaris - i have a feeling it might be made with the ao tosaka which would explain the texture part. i will dissect the salad the next time i get it to see if the edges are frilled or not. i know that it is cut into to strips and is usually a bright green. i have never had the kuki wakame you mention but i have seen it usually salted in bags. what does the word kuki mean in Japanese? i still don't get the agar part of it however.

hiroyuki, i found that picture somewhere on the net. it is not a very good one for detail, i know. i think the salad is on top of regular iceberg lettuce. it is not served here that way normally, just in a small bowl but i imagine different places serve it differently. i have never had the other kombu you mention; i have only used the very large one used for making dashi.

in any case, thank you all for your help -- it's more answers than i had previously!

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Does anyone know what chukka means? I don't think it's a Japanese word. Is it Korean? Does it mean seaweed?

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Does anyone know what chukka means?  I don't think it's a Japanese word.  Is it Korean?  Does it mean seaweed?

When I initially saw someone refer to this salad at chukka seaweed salad, I thought it was 中華, the Japanese word to describe Chinese style foods but it should be written chuuka or even chuka. I tried looking it up on the internet and I all come up with is this salad and some boots! :laugh:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Does anyone know what chukka means?  I don't think it's a Japanese word.  Is it Korean?  Does it mean seaweed?

When I initially saw someone refer to this salad at chukka seaweed salad, I thought it was 中華, the Japanese word to describe Chinese style foods but it should be written chuuka or even chuka. I tried looking it up on the internet and I all come up with is this salad and some boots! :laugh:

I tried searching on "chukka" or "chuka" also, and in addition to the seaweed salad--and the boots :laugh: --also came up with a noodle salad: hiyashi chuka. I am not a Japanese-speaker, but I couldn't help wondering if "chukka/chuka" might signify some style of salad, or some other quality that the seaweed salad and noodle salad shared.

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I tried searching on "chukka" or "chuka" also, and in addition to the seaweed salad--and the boots :laugh: --also came up with a noodle salad: hiyashi chuka. I am not a Japanese-speaker, but I couldn't help wondering if "chukka/chuka" might signify some style of salad, or some other quality that the seaweed salad and noodle salad shared.

This chukka/chuka, as in hiyashi chuka, is what Iw as just referring to as something prepared in the Chinese style. Hiyashi chuka could be translated into English as Chinese style cold noodles.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I love that salad, too. My japanese neighbor says she always buys it ready-made at the Japanese market.

A good many years ago she taught me how to make another delicious salad using wakame. You need to soak a very small amount of wakame in very cold water; it expands amazingly. Slice up and toss with thinly sliced cucumber, then toss with white vinegar, sugar and salt.

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I've also wondered about this very common seaweed salad found in most US Japanese restaurants. It's sold in bags imported from China (Shenyang Export) and is called hiyashi wakame. But, I'm not sure about the wakame part at all. The texture is all wrong for wakame. It isn't kombu. Ingredients listed as you stated (misspeplled agar agar to arga arga) - can't figure that part out at all. Unless wakame is somehow all dipped in agar agar to make them chuchy (I doubt it, but why agar agar). But, that does not explain why the wierd green color - it seems too green to me (a bit artificial color to me - I don't know though).

Could this be something from the river? I wonder how stringent food import law to US is. Maybe this hiyashi wakame is mislabled.

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Hey, I live in Hawaii and I've never seen -- raw or dried -- the kind of "seaweed" used in this salad. It always comes ready-made (I suspect there's one factory in the world that makes it, because it always tastes the same and is dyed that artificial bright green). I wonder how much of it is indeed "sea vegetable" and how much is composed of agar-agar noodles.

"Chukka" I agree, is a misspelling of "chuka," the Japanese word meaning "Chinese-style."

It's not ogo (aka limu, which is a fine branch-like seaweed that's usually a purplish red.


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I am just back from a month long trip to the US and I finally know what everyone is referring to! I saw this stuff everywhere, in every Asian market and even in all the local supermarkets in the deli sections near the sushi. It was all the exact same stuff, I even saw a huge bag of it ( a couple pounds) in one of the Asian markets. I have never seen the exact same stuff in Japan. I wonder if it is really just an agar agar product dyed green, I've never seen that brightness of green in a seaweed either.

EDIT

the bags of the stuff I looked at all came from China.


Edited by torakris (log)

<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Hmmm.... come to think of it, maybe the "sea vegetable" in the seaweed salad IS agar-agar, which is derived from a form of algae!


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Hmmm.... come to think of it, maybe the "sea vegetable" in the seaweed salad IS agar-agar, which is derived from a form of algae!

Just what I was thinking! :biggrin:

now I am wishing I had tasted it....


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Okay, all of you are freaking me out. I had no idea the "seaweed salad" stuff isn't seaweed. Ugh, now I don't think I can ever order it again!

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?? I don't understand what's going on here.

Agar-agar is made from a seaweed called tengusa. Is that clear?

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Okay, all of you are freaking me out. I had no idea the "seaweed salad" stuff isn't seaweed. Ugh, now I don't think I can ever order it again!

Sorry, I didn't mean to confuse anyone. Agar agar is definitely seaweed, agar from wikipedia.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I thought it looked like the crunchy green seaweed that comes on top of "battleship" sushi. I just asked my Japanese friend, who usually knows all kinds of things that other Japanese have no idea about what that was called.

He just said "seaweed". He said there are heaps of different kinds of seaweed, but people only know the names of a few - konbu, hijiki, mozoku, wakame etc.

So, are you guys talking about the same stuff that's on top of ship sushi (I also see it frozen in the supermarket)?

If they are different things, does anyone know what the sushi one is?

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I thought it looked like the crunchy green seaweed that comes on top of "battleship" sushi. I just asked my Japanese friend, who usually knows all kinds of things that other Japanese have no idea about what that was called.

He just said "seaweed". He said there are heaps of different kinds of seaweed, but people only know the names of a few - konbu, hijiki, mozoku, wakame etc.

So, are you guys talking about the same stuff that's on top of ship sushi (I also see it frozen in the supermarket)?

If they are different things, does anyone know what the sushi one is?

I have never seen this seaweed salad atop gunkan maki (battleship sushi), but there is a lot I haven't seen. I popped seaweed gunkan maki into google pictures and look what came up! It looks like the same stuff to me.

Another interesting thing I found was at this site, 4th from the bottom just above the chuka salad gunkan there is a chuka ika. This looks like a prepared squid salad and looking it up on google shows that is is commonly sold in bulk and from the same places that do the chuka seaweed. So I guess the "chuka" isn't really the name of a type of seaweed....

Just to add a little more confusion :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I thought it looked like the crunchy green seaweed that comes on top of "battleship" sushi. I just asked my Japanese friend, who usually knows all kinds of things that other Japanese have no idea about what that was called.

He just said "seaweed". He said there are heaps of different kinds of seaweed, but people only know the names of a few - konbu, hijiki, mozoku, wakame etc.

So, are you guys talking about the same stuff that's on top of ship sushi (I also see it frozen in the supermarket)?

If they are different things, does anyone know what the sushi one is?

I have never seen this seaweed salad atop gunkan maki (battleship sushi), but there is a lot I haven't seen. I popped seaweed gunkan maki into google pictures and look what came up! It looks like the same stuff to me.

Another interesting thing I found was at this site, 4th from the bottom just above the chuka salad gunkan there is a chuka ika. This looks like a prepared squid salad and looking it up on google shows that is is commonly sold in bulk and from the same places that do the chuka seaweed. So I guess the "chuka" isn't really the name of a type of seaweed....

Just to add a little more confusion :biggrin:

As for me, I'm quite satisfied now because it's almost certain that chuka is "Chinese" rather than some mysterious word. :biggrin:

The seaweed on top of the gunkan maki in the first link looks like kiri kombu to me... Am I the only one who thinks so?

The next time I go shopping, I'll check what Japanese seaweed salad looks like.

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I am just back from a month long trip to the US and I finally know what everyone is referring to! I saw this stuff everywhere, in every Asian market and even in all the local supermarkets in the deli sections near the sushi. It was all the exact same stuff, I even saw a huge bag of it ( a couple pounds) in one of the Asian markets. I have never seen the exact same stuff in Japan. I wonder if it is really just an agar agar product dyed green, I've never seen that brightness of green in a seaweed either.

EDIT

the bags of the stuff I looked at all came from China.

....and u didn't try it??!! :shock:

the seaweed ontop of the gunkan IS the same stuff -- so ...... my question remains ---> what the *@*@ is this stuff??!! :wacko:

btw...the salad definitely does have a form of agar which is dyed BRIGHT GREEN but there is also some type of "seaweed" in there.

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I am just back from a month long trip to the US and I finally know what everyone is referring to! I saw this stuff everywhere, in every Asian market and even in all the local supermarkets in the deli sections near the sushi. It was all the exact same stuff, I even saw a huge bag of it ( a couple pounds) in one of the Asian markets. I have never seen the exact same stuff in Japan. I wonder if it is really just an agar agar product dyed green, I've never seen that brightness of green in a seaweed either.

EDIT

the bags of the stuff I looked at all came from China.

....and u didn't try it??!! :shock:

It seemed expensive.... :sad::huh:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I think I have solved the mystery!

I decided to start searching Japnese pages instead of sticking with the English ones, and I found this (scroll to the middle of the page).

中華ワカメサラダ

Chuka Wakame Salad

The picture looks the same or a least very similar, I there is a good chance they would just translate wakame to seaweed as i am sure there are many people outside of Japan not familiar with the name. This one doesn't mention agar agar, but it doesn't really list any ingredients, I have a feeling the agar agar is added to bulk it up.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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