I was sent a lovely trio of Mara seaweed flakes by Real Foods to try out and review. I’ve never experimented with different seaweeds that much before (although being Irish, my hubby loves to eat dulse out of the packet) and I was keen to give them a try. They arrived in lovely little packages, with some brief descriptions and ideas. I’ll share with you the recipes I’ve tried them in so far.
Mara means ‘of the sea’ in Gaelic, and each of the types are harvested from exceptionally pure waters around Scotland, maintaining their natural flavours and qualities. Seaweeds are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, and therefore make a great addition to any meal.
I’ll start with the one I found the most versatile, the lovely Kombu. Described as ‘pure umami’, which means the fifth taste sense ( from glutamic acid), it’s often used as a flavour enhancer and can be used instead of salt.
In Japanese cuisine, Kombu is one of the three main ingredients used to make soup stock. I therefore thought it the perfect ingredient for my onion and parsnip soup. As well as blending in approximately one teaspoon into the soup itself, I sprinkled liberally on top. I found it added a richness to the soup, without giving an overpowering flavour.
Next up to try was the Shony – named after the ancient Hebridean sea-god. It’s a unique blend of seaweed, and the packet suggests liberal sprinkling on salads, pasta and rice. I made my favourite mushroom and spinach risotto, and added a sprinkle onto the top. I found it had a lovely, mild flavour, and seemed to add a taste of the sea. I haven’t tried it on salads yet, but I imagine it would be lovely as a dressing, with a simple drizzle of olive oil. Very healthy.
Last but not least, my husband’s favourite – dulse! Now, he’s used to eating it out a packet like crisps, but these flakes are designed for a slightly more subtle flavour. I must admit, I tried eating it like my hubby does when we were living in Ireland, and it wasn’t my thing. So, this was the packet I was a little more wary of. I do, however, love Dee’s sausages and they’re loaded with the stuff!
The packet suggested that it could be stir-fried with kale or spinach. Instead, I sprinkled a little on my kale as it was steaming, and then added a little more to the finished meal afterwards. I’m not so sure I’d agree with the ‘smoky taste’ description – it’s more a very rich, salty taste of the sea. But not the saltiness you associate with crisps, something deeper. I enjoyed it and it definitely added to the rich kale, but I found it very strong, and think I would prefer it cooked into something. I’ve read that it works well when added to the water of boiling pasta or potatoes. I’ll be giving that a try next!
If you’re interested in giving these nutrient packed seaweeds a try, why not head over to the Real Foods website, where you can buy them. If you love experimenting with new seasoning and flavours, then these should be in your kitchen cupboard!
Thanks for reading – have a wonderful week ahead!
Real Foods sent me these products free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.