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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Seaweed Chips

On Friday night I made kelp deep fry chips. I used a different type of kelp than I did to make seaweed salad. I have a photo of the two types I have used. The top is the 'ribbon kelp' whose 'fingers' I used to make seaweed salad while the second photo is of a strand of kelp that I used to make chips. I have noticed that the best of both varieties grow in the tide pools and do not dry out between tides on the rocks. In fact, the kelp chip variety ONLY seems to grow in the deep tide pools. For the ribbon kelp I do not pick the large 'ribbed' strips, but rather clip the small, shoots, or fingers that grow around the base - not all the ribbon kelp plants seemed to have these shoots.

Back home I again soaked both varieties in freshwater, and made the salad the same way as described above - only I added thin slices of cucumber for added texture. For the chips I tried to dry the kelp as much as possible with towels and then cut up into small triangles and squares (third picture). Then I dropped the pieces into smoking hot canola oil in a wok. I immediately covered the wok with a splash screen because the oil spits like crazy once the kelp is dropped in.

The pieces turn green and bubbly and float on top of the oil. I have found that if you undercook them they are sort of chewy and not so good. However, if you overcook them you risk burning them (I did this on Friday and all subsequent batches tasted burned). But done right - I think about 2 to 3 minutes - they tasted awesome. Light and fluffy with a mild seaweed taste. Sort of like seaweed cheetos. I also think the smaller kelp plants made better chips - the big pieces ended up chewy and took too long to cook and get crisp (I think this is why I burned a batch on Friday).

As regards seasoning I tried salt, garlic powder, and nothing. And adding nothing turned out the best. Salt made them too salty while garlic powder was too overpowering and 'burnt, fake tasting'.

Enjoy, Patrick

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