Black Sea Vegetable or Hijiki seaweed
What did ancient Japanese people eat? A record says Jōmon (ca. 14000 to 400 BCE) and Yayoi peoples (ca. 400 BCE to 300 AD) used to consume this food to compensate for the lack of calcium. In the Nara Period (710 - 784), it was mostly used as an offering to the divinity and probably not in the reach of commoners. But today, it’s popularly enjoyed by many people regardless of the social status and promoted as a healthy food good for longevity. September 15 or the previous Keirō-no-Hi (the Day to Respect the Elder) has been now established as the Day for Hijiki. Well, some countries may be against the consumption of the food due to its (small amount of) arsenic content, and of course, it’s your choice, but who would consume tons of it and every day? It’s just a modest amount we usually eat, and that doesn’t hurt anything at all. So, many Japanese people would still love to taste that rice-eating promoting flavour and texture. Popularly cooked as Nimono (season-boiled item), mixed with ingredients such as small-cut carrots, Konnyaku, Abura Age and beans.
(Photo: Hijiki in Nimono with soybeans and carrots.)