Kombu Tsukudani is thinly cut Kombu seaweed that is cooked and seasoned mainly with sugar and Soy Sauce. Kombu Tsukudani is a great accompaniment for plain Steamed Rice for its strong sweet and salty flavor. You can use it to top a bowl of rice or put it in your Onigiri rice balls.
Tsukudani is one way to cook vegetables, seafood, and meat. Seasonings of Soy Sauce and sugar are cooked down so much that Tsukudani’s flavor is very concentrated. It’s not meant to be eaten by itself but with rice to enjoy the harmony of flavors. Tsukudani was first made as a food that lasts a long time, when refrigeration was not available in Japan. Kombu seaweed may be the most mainstream ingredient for Tsukudani, but there are others just as popular. Clams and tiny fish are tasty ones. In one region of Japan it was harder to find protein so people used locusts to make Tsukudani. (Yum?) Shigureni with beef is a kind of Tsukudani too, and meat is also suitable for this cooking method.
We cooked new dried Kombu to make the dish here, but you can re-use Kombu after making Dashi, which is usually discarded after its job is done. That way you don’t have to waste it, and you can skip the step to rehydrate (although that doesn’t take much time at all). Kombu Tsukudani can last a couple of weeks in the fridge, so it comes in handy when you don’t have anything but steamed rice. It is a simple yet perfect seasoning for your rice.
- 15g dried Kombu
- 1/2 cup (120ml) water
- 1/2 tsp Rice Vinegar
- 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Sake
- 1 Tbsp Mirin
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Let Kombu submerge in water in a large bowl and rehydrate for 15 minutes.
- When Kombu becomes soft, take it out from the water and pat dry. Slice into 2" long, thin strips.
- Put 1/2 cup water and vinegar along with cut Kombu in a small pot. Cook at medium low heat for 10 minutes. Then add all the seasonings, and cook until the liquid is gone. Add sesame seeds and mix.