Brittle and black, hijiki comes in ½ to 1 inch strands. It has a mild anise like flavor and is high in calcium. I use hijiki in salads and soups. It must be rehydrated in warm water for about twenty minutes to be usable.
Available in pliable sheets, konbu (also referred to as kombu) or kelp tastes delightfully of the sea. The Japanese use it primarily to make dashi, the mother stock of their cooking, from which miso soup is prepared. Konbu sheets are packaged in various sizes; I use the smaller sheets (roughly 6 by 7 inches).
Used preeminetly as a maki sushi wrapper, nori comes in thin sheets of iridescent black, dark green, or purplish seaweed. Buy toasted nori (labeled yakinori), which is usually sold flat in packages. The sheets measure 7 to 8 inches square. Nori, which has a sweet ocean taste, is extremely rich in protein, vitamins, calcium, iron, and other minerals. Unused nori should be wrapped in plastic and stored in a cool, dark place.
Available in Ming's Pantry
Bright green when reconstituted, this strandlike seaweed has a lovely ocean taste and pleasing slippery texture. It is also extremely nutritious. Soak wakame in warm water for twenty minutes to soften it.