Arsenic for dinner?
Can you pick out the arsenic on the plate?
No no, this isn't a line from some bad V.C. Andrews book (which I will completely admit to reading when I was a teenager). It's actually possible that I consumed some for dinner the other night. So did my husband and my sister.
WTF, you ask? Well, there is a type of seaweed called hijiki which is one of my favorites. It's short, thin, black and very tender when cooked. It's usually served as a tiny side dish in an obento. A popular dish is Hijiki No Nimono, which is basically seaweed mixed with carrots, konnyaku, abura age and simmered in soy sauce, fish stock, sugar and mirin. It's also common to add chicken to this which is what I did the other night. It was soooo good, and I actually ate some more today since I had leftovers.
Well, here are the pros of hijiki:
- It is high in fiber and necessary minerals
- It aids in the growth of thick, black hair (probably IF you actually have black hair to begin with! I doubt Jessica Simpson would sprout black hair if she started eating hijiki...although it would be cool)
- It aids in overall health and beauty
Here is the con:
- Consumption of only a small amount of hijiki seaweed could result in an intake of inorganic arsenic that exceeds the tolerable daily intake for this substance.
And what does arsenic do? It's been linked to anemia, cancer, liver damage....yikes. New Zealand, Canada, The U.K. and Hong Kong have all issued warnings on consuming hijiki because of this.
Hmmm.....beautiful hair or LIVER FAILURE? How about some ANEMIA to go with those essential minerals?
Ok, I'm being dramatic and obviously wouldn't consume it if I was that worried...but when I was eating it at lunch today, I was thinking that wow...this is the second time this week that I've had this....maybe I'm getting too much arsenic for the week (I mean, can you ever have too LITTLE ARSENIC?). I mean, there are so many things in today's world that are bad for you that I don't want to be one of those paranoid people that won't eat this or that, but this does concern me a bit. I think I'll keep my hijiki consumption to once a month from now on.
Anyway, I also made something I'd been wanting to eat but had never cooked before- Renkon no Hasami Age. It's basically a meat mixture sandwiched between two slices of lotus root and deep fried. It's a common dish at many izakayas in Japan and I really missed it. After asking a few people for a recipe, I just combined what I'd heard and winged it. I mixed some ground pork and minced shrimp with chopped green onions, a bit of ginger and some garlic. I carefully spread about a tablespoon onto a slice of lotus root and enclosed it with another. Then I dredged it in cornstarch and deep fried. Success! You'd think that you would dip this type of food in soy sauce but no no no- at the izakayas, it is usually served with ketchup. I mixed some good 'ol Heniz with some Sriracha hot sauce and it was the perfect match for the crunchy renkon. Trust me- it's great!
Other dinner items:
Hiyayakko (cold tofu with ginger, scallions, shoyu & bonito flakes)
Pea shoot salad with miso dressing
Aforementioned arsenic...er...hijiki no nimono
Aspargus w/ dashi seasoning and sesame
Japanese cooking, Japanese food, Lotus root, Hijiki seaweed