Tagged R ~ Raw Recipe : Lato Seaweed Salad

lato seaweed salad

I was planning on posting this next week for Frizztext’s ‘Tagged S- Simple Seaweed Salad’ but plans changed and I decided to pass it off as Tagged R- Raw Recipe. ^^ I simply couldn’t wait to share this recipe on my blog coz it’s been such a long time since I posted one. But this one’s bound to be interesting coz it’s Rare and Refreshing

Lato (Caulerpa lentillifera) is an edible seaweed farmed in the Philippines and in Japan where it is known as umi-budō (海ぶどう) or sea grapes because of its grape-like appearance. Compared to grapes though, they’re pretty tiny and has a mild, very slightly salty taste. The best thing about this seaweed also known as ‘sea caviar’ is probably the texture; it’s robust, watery, a li’l slimy and they pop in your mouth while you eat ‘em. Fun. ^^ They are known to be a rich source of essential minerals such as iron, iodine, and calcium as well as vitamins A and C.

Lato is usually sold fresh and eaten raw. Be warned that this seaweed with its delicate structure tends to wilt quickly. Hence, careful handling is required. Unlike most seaweeds, it’s impossible to dry and preserve the Lato. Also, cleaning it with bare hands requires effort and plenty of patience on the part of the market vendors. Nevertheless, they’re quite inexpensive. The great thing about preparing the salad is that it’s pretty easy and doesn’t take much of your time. ^^

First of course is that you have to wash the Lato well. Salted water may be used.

Then mix the seaweed with chopped onions or shallots, chopped tomatoes, and the vinaigrette of your choice. (vinegar with some salt and sugar usually works best). However, be sure to add the vinaigrette just before eating the salad unless of course you wanna end up with a dish of shriveled seaweed. lol ^^

I prefer my Lato salad with just some calamansi (a local citrus fruit) and plenty of sesame seeds. (shown above). Another dish to try if you ever find yourself in my part of the world 😉



California Maki: a Recipe for People Who Can and Can’t Cook :p

california maki @ rai rai ken

WARNING: the recipe isn’t that long!It’s just that I keep yapping. lol

Two of my favorite Japanese foods are California Maki and Sweet Egg Rolls. Since I’m from the Philippines, my taste buds are pretty much accustomed to savory Filipino dishes which has quite a different taste from Japanese food. My sensei (I study Nihongo and speak, read and write some) described Filipino food as sweet, sour, bitter, hot and spicy all at the same time. Lol Well, not really but you get the point. What can I say, we like sum flava in our food. Thing is, I also chicken out when it comes to raw stuff like sushi and sashimi. The only raw things I’d ever consider eating are lettuce and fruits – and they better be organic too! So whenever we eat out at Japanese restaurants, I’d usually order shrimp tempura, California maki and Ramen ( I have my own recipe of seafood hotpot ramen that’s easy as pie, will write abt it soon); you can’t go wrong with these. 🙂 One summer, when my aunt came home from Japan , she taught me how to make California Maki and Sweet Tamagoyaki (tamago = egg). We also made Yaki Udon (noodles), spam with veggies and scattered sushi. Y’all have prolly come across so many recipes for California Maki and Tamagoyaki and I’m not saying my recipe’s any different nor am I claiming to be an expert on this thing 🙂 But since I’ve already started yapping about this, then why not go on and share the recipe right? After all, it’s ridiculously easy.
Recipe for California Maki Roll
What you’ll need:
1) 2 cups of Japanese rice — sushi rice is quite different from Filipino rice.. they’re whiter, softer, more round in shape; they also taste better. However, mommy did this thing where she used half sushi rice and half Pulutan (Filipino sticky rice w/c we also use for rice desserts). She just cooked them together in a rice cooker. As a result, the rice stuck together better and I loved the texture too!
2) 2 Crab Sticks that are about 10 inches long (or as what me and boyfie would call it, fake ass crab meat)
3) a Cucumber/ an Avocado or both cut into strips
4) Ripe Mangoes cut into strips (mangoes are my favorite of all fruits and we have the best yellow mangoes here in the Philippines!)
5) Nori sheets
6) 1 tbsp Japanese rice wine vinegar (optional)
7) Sesame seeds
8) Mayonnaise (since I learned how to make my own mayonnaise, I never turned back; I’ll blog about it one of these days)

For the dip:
1) Nori paste
2) Kikoman soy sauce ( no ordinary soy sauce will do ; this one tastes better)
3) Japanese ginger (these are optional, really)

So, what are ya waitin’ for, boil the rice already! 🙂 Sometimes, my aunt would add like a tablespoon of Japanese rice wine vinegar on the rice. Flavor, she says. Well, after that’s done..
Take out your bamboo sushi mats, kids, let’s get ready to roll! But let the rice cool first ayt? 😉 Meanwhile, cover up the bamboo mat with cling wrap. Then, lay one nori sheet on the sushi mat, shiny side down; you may then start scooping the cold rice into the nori sheet, covering it entirely except for about one-fourth inch at the top end. You may flatten the rice with some cling wrap, making sure the height is about a quarter inch only.
Spread a thin film of mayo on the rice then sprinkle it with a little bit of sesame seeds (if you’re not a fan of sesame seeds, you can do w/o it). Then, align the avocado strips, mangoes, crab meat and cucumber in a horizontal manner at the bottom half of the rice.
Squeeze and Roll. Roll it into a log starting from the bottom where the ingredients are and be sure to squeeze gently while you’re doing it. Keep rollin’ and squeezin’ towards you until you’ve formed a perfect little log.
Cut. It’s now time to transfer you’re masterpiece into the cutting board. This is important; you must make sure your knife is reeeaaally sharp. We tried using a kinda blunt knife (I blame boyfie for this 😉 ) and it turned out into a disaster!! All that rolling and squeezing only to create an ugly mess. Ok, I’m overreacting, so the sushi wasn’t as smooth and even as it should be. Lol
Moooving on, cut the sushi into even little pieces; you may discard the ends if they’re uneven by simply cutting them off, picking them up then popping them into your mouth 🙂 Then, arrange the slices on a platter. You may squeeze some more mayo on top and place the ginger and wasabi and small cup of soy sauce on the side of the platter. I personally like eating California Maki together with Tamago Yaki (recipe to follow).
Now you have yourself a yummy snack, an appetizer or a dinner good for two. Ittadakimasu!
xO- kz

super california maki

scattered sushi

my california maki with tamagoyaki