Of course, seaweed tastes a bit like the sea, with a naturally "sea-salty" flavour. But it's not overwhelming, like an unexpected gulp of the ocean, and the flavours and varieties of Mara Seaweed are so much more complex. In this short guide to Mara's products, we explain our flavour profiles, offer tasting notes and give you some food pairing ideas.
Taste: nuanced, mild, sweet and salty blend
Appearance: green and purple flakes
This is Mara's secret blend of different seaweeds and a first time favourite for a lot of people. A good introduction into the culinary world of seaweed, it is both salty and sweet, with a lovely fresh 'sea' flavour.
Shony is named after an ancient Hebridean sea god and this heavenly blend is a healthy flavour boost for everyday use. Because Shony is extremely versatile you can sprinkle it liberally on everything from breakfast eggs, for a morning mineral boost, to desserts and puddings, such as Paul Hollywood's blackberry and apple crumble topping.
Try it on salads, pasta, roast veg and shellfish. Mix it with butter or oil and coat white meat and fish.
Taste: iron-rich like kale, deep and savoury, slightly smoky
Appearnce: dark ruby purple flakes or powder
Eating Dulse (palmaria palmata) is an ancient tradition in Scots and Irish culture, which Mara has brought back to modern kitchens. Known as 'Irish chewing gum' on the Green Isle, dulse has a wonderful salty, umami flavour.
Dulse is something of a "flavour chameleon," so it works with most dishes to bring out their best and add real depth of flavour. It has a subtle saltiness to it that acts as a flavour enhancer.
Dulse goes very well with red and iron-rich foods such as beef and lamb, spinach and kale, tomatoes and even strawberries, cherries and rhubarb. Try adding 1-2 tsp to make the most amazing fruit compote you've ever tasted.
Applewood Smoked Dulse
Taste: similar to dulse but with more 'oomph' from a slightly sweet smoke. For some, this evokes a strong fish taste, for others it's more a BBQ effect.
Appearance: dark ruby purple flakes
Our award-winning smoked dulse is truly a feast for your taste buds. It has an exquisite smouldering smoky flavour, thanks to the applewood chips over which we smoke it. The smoky flavour is very complementary to dulse's natural umami qualities, making this product very more-ish.
Pair with foods that have sweet, light flavours such as scallops, soft cheeses, apples and beets. An absolute must for topping macaroni cheese or try a spoonful in chilli-chocolate brownies. A little goes a long way!
Taste: smooth, earthy, umami-rich, salty. Think miso soup.
Appearance: dark olive green flakes or powder
Kombu (laminaria digitata) is pure umami, also known as 'the fifth taste,' which translates as 'delicious.' This deep-water kelp is a smooth flavour enhancer and along with nori is probably the seaweed people are most familiar with from Japanese cuisine.
But kombu isn't just limited to Asian dishes. Strong and rich, kombu has a lingering, earthy flavour. When used in a soup or stock, kombu adds a whole new dimension.
Try spooning it into soups, stews or soaking beans. It goes wonderfully with fish and very well with strong flavours like mushrooms. Of all our seaweeds, kombu has the 'saltiest' flavour, if you're looking to make a direct swap or reduce your intake.
Taste: umami-rich, intensely savoury with a lingering saltiness
Appearance: dark olive green powder
Smoked kombu is the ultimate flavour hit, with a rich flavour that melts across the palate. The seaweed of choice for high-end chefs and food service.
Try adding it to bread dough, lightly coating fish for a batter or curry, or mixing in to truffles to make them even more decadent.
Furikake (available November 2016)
Taste: savoury and salty with a gentle spice
Appearance: dark purple seaweed flakes interspersed with red chilli flakes and black and white sesame seeds
Furikake is a popular shake-on rice seasoning in Japan, created after World War I to address the lack of calcium in the Japanese diet. Mara Seaweed’s Furikake blends fiery chilli, sesame seeds and dulse to bring an East-West flavour fusion and a nutritional boost to any meal.
Use Furikake to deliver a delicious Asian-style flavour hit to noodles and stir-fries, or simply stir it through rice for an amazing side dish to fish, meat and curries. Particularly good with fresh and smoked salmon.
So, which seaweed will you be using in dinner tonight? Shop the whole range in our online store.