Sponge Seaweed
Seaweed in Water [Ch'onggak, Nokkakch'ae, kimchee, kimchi, Korea, Korean Codium fragile]

This coastal seaweed is found worldwide, even on the coast of Antarctica. It is a siphonous alga, meaning its round branches are composed of a tangle of near microscopic filaments, each filament being a single multinucleate cell. This accounts for its spongy texture. Its branching fronds grow up to about 12 inches long.

This seaweed is used in various skin rejuvenation products, but in Asia, particularly Korea, it is used for food, particularly as a flavor and aroma modifying ingredient in kimchee. It has a distinctive aroma compared to other seaweeds.   Photo by Flyingdream contributed to the Public Domain .

More on Algae and Cyanobacteria.

Seaweed in Water This seaweed is valued in Korea mainly for inclusion in a number of kimchees, especially watery kimchees or those with a fish component. It is reputed to eliminate fishy smells, the smell of garlic, and aftertastes. The strands are typically 0.040 inch diameter dried and 0.120 after soaking.

Buying & Storing:   This seaweed is not easy to find, even in Korean markets here in Los Angeles. You have to take great care, because are other seaweeds very thinly sliced into threads that look a lot like this one, and the package for all of them will probably just say "Dried Seaweed". The strands of this seaweed are round, not square, and it tends to be very tangled.

Cooking:   This seaweed is always soaked before cooking. It can be simmered a bit and served with a dash of rice vinegar to enliven it, but it's main use as an ingredient in kimchees.

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