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Hijiki Barley Pilaf

Winning recipe submitted by Sonnet Bingham - Asian Flavors Contest, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association.

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½ cup hijiki (dried seaweed)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (or Enova)
1 cup pearl barley (uncooked)
2 cups konbu dashi (kelp broth)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cups onion (finely chopped)
2 cups fresh maitake mushrooms (finely chopped)
1 cup renkon (lotus root) peeled and finely chopped; put in a light vinegar water to prevent browning
1½ cups celery (finely chopped)
¼ cup fresh thyme (leaves finely chopped)


Place dried hijiki in a bowl. Wash and soak in water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain hijiki in a colander. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium heat, just until hot. Add barley and cook for 5 minutes (or until brown), stirring constantly. Add konbu broth and soy sauce, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes (or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed). Remove from heat. In a separate frying pan, add remaining oil, onions, maitake mushrooms, renkon, celery, hijiki and thyme. Sauté over medium heat until onions are soft and clear. Add cooked barley; stir until headed through. Serve warm – tastes great with fish. Serves 4 to 6. 

Konbu Dashi

A broth infused with konbu (kelp), konbu dashi can be made from scratch and is available as a powder. Add water according to package instructions to make 2 cups. Note: be sure to get konbu dashi, not konbu katsuobushi dashi; the latter has bonito (fish) added and will alter the flavor of the pilaf.