Other Names: konbu, kelp
Description: A dark green long thick sea vegetable from the kelp family. Used frequently in Japanese cooking, it is an essential ingredient of dashi, a flavorful stock. Kombu contains significant amounts of glutamic acid, the basis of monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Purchasing Information: Kombu is usually sold in 5 to 6-inch dried pieces and can be found in health food stores and Japanese groceries. It is also sold as nalto kombu (shredded kombu that cooks quickly), tororo kombu (vinegared, shaved kombu that needs little or no cooking), shio-kombu (boiled, soy sauce flavored kombu), kombu-zuke (lightly pickled kombu), and kombu-ko (powdered kombu that can be sprinkled on food or used in drinks).
Basic Cooking Instructions: Dried kombu needs to be simmered for at least 20 minutes to soften it and flavor the liquid. If used only for flavoring stock, the kombu itself is removed from the simmer liquid at the end of cooking and discarded.
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