Kombu is a Japanese word that pertains to edible kelp that comes from the Laminaria family. This kind of kelp is often found in the waters near East Asia, specifically in Japan, some parts of China as well as in the Korean peninsula.
The majority of the kelp found in stores is from kelp farms. They are sold dried, pickled, fresh and frozen. Cooks use Kombu to provide flavor to a wide variety of dishes.
The popularity of Kombu
Kombu has been popular for centuries among Asian cultures. Many describe the taste of Kombu as salty and savory.
It can be eaten raw, and usually cut into seaweed salads. It can also be prepared to accompany meat dishes and rice.
Many East Asian kitchens keep dried kelp as cooks find that the kelp’s salty taste increases when dried. A couple of kelp flakes are added to meat dishes or rice to improve their flavor.
Some food experts believe that this kelp is used widely among different cultures because of its relatively cheap price. Kombu can be found in shallow waters where they grow naturally. Getting the kombu off the waters is easy, and most of its parts can be eaten.
The popularity of fresh and frozen kombu
Those who live near the water where kombu often grows buy them fresh as it can be eaten after being plucked out of water. The kelp however is known to be tough and as such, many prefer to soften it through heat by cooking.
Many Asian cooks also prefer to prepare this kelp by cutting, marinating or cooking. The most common methods of cooking kombu are pan-frying and steaming.
Many opt to preserve kombu either by freezing or drying. Drying causes this kelp to become saltier resulting in a much-concentrated flavor. Asian cooks only add a few flakes of kombu to make meat dishes and rice more flavorful.