This dish can be served either as a main course or as a side dish. Either way, this dish is full of flavor and uses minima...
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Hijiki or Hiziki is a type of brown sea vegetable or seaweed but it is black in color in dried form. I believe this type of sea vegetable is mostly grown in Oriental countries such as Japan, China and Korea although I think it is also available in other countries. Other types of sea vegetables are the ever popular nori, kombu, arame, wakame (in miso soup), dulse and sea lettuce among the popular ones.
One unique thing about hijiki is that it has a good balance of calcium and magnesium and also sodium and potassium. In Japan, this type of seaweed is known as the beauty mineral because it is good for this skin, hair and nails. It is also rich in iron and other minerals. Although some governments are not requiring people to eat a lot of hijiki and other sea vegetables because of it's arsenic content. But then again, we're not going to eat them in industrial size every day and it all depends on where it came from.
Hijiki has a slight anise, but strong fishy flavor and just a little bit of saltiness. For me, its actually a little bit strong but it's one of the sea vegetables that I need to eat more often. I could really smell the sea from this seaweed that's why I rinse them before using although it's better not to, to preserve the nutrients. There is another type of hijiki in Boshu, Japan which is slightly sweet in flavor. Another unique thing about Boshu hijiki is that they don't need to be soaked before using.
Good with salads, stir-fried dishes, casseroles, soup and even stews.
I hope I was able to provide some information. =)
Based on health risk information received from Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is advising consumers to avoid consumption of hijiki seaweed. Tests results have indicated that levels of inorganic arsenic were significantly higher than in other types of seaweed. Hijiki is one of several types of seaweed that are imported to Canada for human consumption. Most hijiki seaweed is sold at the wholesale and restaurant levels.
Consumption of only a small amount of hijiki seaweed could result in an intake of inorganic arsenic that exceeds the tolerable daily intake for this substance. Therefore, consumption of this type of seaweed is to be avoided. Although no known illnesses have been associated with consuming hijiki seaweed to date, inorganic arsenic is suspected of causing cancer in humans and exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic has been linked with gastrointestinal effects, anemia and liver damage. People who follow a macrobiotic diet that often includes large amounts of seaweed may be at greater risk.
It is important to know that almost all food contains small amounts of toxic elements. Both good and bad elements are pulled out of the soil and become part of the plant. You cannot really avoid it because you get toxic elements in small amounts from your food, in your water, in the air you breathe (and the person beside you smoking), in your household products and in your amalgam fillings, etc. Interestingly, small amounts of these elements are common (unavoidable, in fact) in our environment and diet and are actually necessary for good health (in small amounts), but large amounts of any of them may cause acute or chronic toxicity (poisoning).
Hijiki does contain naturally occurring arsenic. It’s a fact and it’s natural. But hijiki is also a good source of alginate or alginic acid which is a polysaccharide that helps bind and draw out any heavy metal toxins that are already stored in our bodies which lower the body’s burden in eliminating them.
That's also the reason why sea vegetables are only consumed 2-3 times a week in small amounts. Hijiki is soaked in water to hydrate them and to remove some of their strong flavors. They are drained and rinsed. With that said, it's wise to buy sea vegetables from a reputable source.
Hope this clears things up. Thank you.