Jellyfish: not just a stinging menace for beachgoers or Dory’s pet squishy in Finding Nemo. They’re also food!
Or, we should say, some jellyfish are food; not all species of jellyfish are safe to eat — but the species that are edible have been used in Chinese cuisine and other cuisines throughout East and Southeast Asia for almost 2,000 years. They’re very low in fat and calories and have a decent amount of protein in them for an animal that, when alive, mostly consists of water.
Today, cooks often prepare jellyfish by salting and drying the mantle. This can be done either whole or sliced into strips. Another way of preparing and preserving jellyfish is by pickling them.
In the cases of dried and salted jellyfish, it’s used primarily for its texture as opposed to flavor; jellyfish aren’t known to be particularly flavorful, but in this case can add a pleasant crunchiness to a dish. Otherwise, reconstituting jellyfish for other cooking methods requires it to be soaked in liquid for several hours. When cooked from that reconstituted state, jellyfish slices can look at a distance kind of like noodles, cabbage, or caramelized onions.
Some jellyfish dishes include jellyfish salad, which is a popular appetizer in some Chinese restaurants. It can also be used in some creative ways like in sushi or even ice cream!
Check your local Uwajimaya for availability of jellyfish.