Stewed hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu


This is a very classic Japanese staple dish. More often than not, I have some variation of it in my refrigerator. The base is hijiki seaweed, which is soaked and reconstituted then cooked in dashi with various other ingredients that give it flavor. It’s great to add to a bento box.

This version has carrots and fried tofu in it. Cutting them into fancy shapes is totally optional, but it does make your bentos a bit more fun.

I’ve used me-hijiki for this but you can use the regular long branch hijiki too.

Stewed hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu

  • About 3/4 cup (150ml or so) of dried me-hijiki, or a handful of regular hijiki
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 block of fried tofu (atsuage)
  • 1 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 2 cups vegetarian dashi stock
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. mirin
  • 1 Tbs. sugar (optional)

Soak the hijiki in water to cover until it is swelled to about 5 times its original volume. Drain well and rinse.

Blanch the block of fried tofu in boiling water, to wash off the surface oiliness.

Cut the tofu and carrots up. (I used a pig cookie cutter for the tofu. The carrot is cut into a ‘nejiri-ume’ (twisted plum blossom) shape. I’ll put up the instructions soon in the decorative cutting section. You could use a cookie cutter for the carrots too. Again, it’s not necessary to cut decorative shapes! Any leftover bits can just be chopped up and added to the dish.)

In a heavy-bottomed pan, add the heat up the sesame oil. Sauté the well drained hijiki, tofu and carrots until coated with the oil.

Add the dashi and other ingredients and bring to a boil. Top up with water or more dashi if the liquid doesn’t cover everything. Lower the heat, and simmer until everything is tender - about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how thick your carrots are.

Instead of the atsuage (thick fried tofu) you can use chopped up aburaage (thin fried tofu, the kind you use for inarizushi, instead. This is a good way of using up leftover skins from a can of them.

This keeps in the refrigerator for about a week or so.

Vary the amount of soy sauce if it’s too salty or not salty enough for you.

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Where's the liquid?

Does the broth/water boil away or did you drain it off at the end? This certainly looks healthy! :)

both really

It does reduce or get absorbed quite a bit during the cooking process, but there’s a little bit left over which keeps it all juicy. You can either strain off the liquid or serve with a little liquid. Yep it’s very healthy! (except for the little bit of sugar)

I made this last night— it

I made this last night— it was good, but I think I needed to use a bigger handful! I forgot that hijiki doesn’t swell up nearly as much as wakame does.


Hi Yoko! Yes hijiki is rather difficult to be specific about amounts on (unless I weighed it..but fortunately it the amount doesn’t have to be too precise either! I guess the amount I had worked for me since I was using mehijiki.

I’m having a hard time

I’m having a hard time identifying the hijiki from all the other seaweeds at our market. In the ingredients they almost all just say “seaweed, salt” or whatever. I know it’s long and blackish but looks like there are other packages as well that look the same. Is there any way to know for sure?

Hijiki usually says clearly

Hijiki usually says clearly that it’s hijiki, and is never packed with salt. The tiny shoots of hijiki may be sold as ‘mehijiki’. (Chinese or general Asian markets may not carry hijiki, though Japanese and Korean markets do.)

Weekend Cooking - including hijiki

Hi Maki,

It’s me AGAIN! Can you tell that I just love your blog. Wanna thank you again for taking time to post all the wonderful recipes as well as your generosity for sharing them!

I am getting a head start for the week, trying to make a few side dishes today so I can enjoy them for the next few days (if they last longer than a day). I made another batch of the great tasting carrots and tahini/miso nut paste, along with the hijiki (which just finished simmering), some lotus root (renkon kinpira) and the spinach with sesame sauce (hourensou no gomaae). Everything is tasting great.

There was a store in my home country that had hijiki as well as other bento dishes for take out. I loved the salad there but didn’t know how to make it. I tried a simmered hijiki recipe from a cook book some months back but the measurements given in the recipe made a really salty dish which I didn’t like (also the hijki ended up being way too soft and turned mushy).

Your recipe came out great. I am waiting for mine to cool just a little before taking some more bites. I am glad I read the comment above about that the liquid does not evaporate as I would have wondered if I cooked mine correctly or not.

Yay! Thanks.

Are you aware of health scares surrounding hijiki?

Hi there, I love your site! I recently discovered hijiki and have been stewing it with tofu. The other day, however, I found lots of information on the internet about health scares surrounding hijiki. Were you aware of this?

The FSA is advising people not to eat hijiki following a survey, prompted by Canadian concerns about the food, that showed that it contains high levels of inorganic arsenic.

Inorganic arsenic, which can occur naturally in some foods, is known to add to the risk of people developing cancer. International experts say that the intake of this type of arsenic in food should be reduced so that it is as low as is practical. The Agency’s expert advisers, the Committee on Toxicity, has said that the levels of inorganic arsenic found in hijiki could add significantly to how much inorganic arsenic people take into their bodies.

I just thought I’d flag it up.

Yes I am aware of the

Yes I am aware of the health scares - I actually addressed it last year in the hijiki article that I linked to in this post. Anyone who is concerned may want to read what I wrote there, plus some articles linked to at the bottom. Japanese people have been eating hijiki for hundreds, if not thousands, of years…and they seem to be doing okay, so I’m a bit skeptical about these things. On the other hand it is not a food meant to be eaten in vast quantities, every day. I realize that some food faddists out there tend to concentrate their eating in this way, and this is always a bad idea (e.g. massive doses of soy protein, etc.) Everything in moderation seems to be the way to go for everything!

I thought as much. I

I thought as much. I really enjoyed that dish and was upset when I read about the health scares. I, like you, also thought that if Japanese people had been eating it for so many years and they are known to have one of the highest life expectancies, then it can’t be that dangerous!

How often would you suggest one should eat hijiki?

Re: Yes I am aware of the

Unless the arsenic comes from modern pollutants that weren't there hundreds of years ago...

Anyway, lots of things have been done for centuries that we now know to be unhealthy (tobacco smoking?) so I'm afraid I find that argument pretty weak.

Re: Yes I am aware of the

Then feel free to avoid hijiki yourself. Having read the studies instead of making kneejerk judgements, I choose to continue enjoying it.

wonderful "salad"

I just made this recipe tonight for my husband and me, and even with the omission of the tofu it still turned out spectacularly. Thanks for your thoughtfulness in putting together this site; I am just beginning to appreciate Japanese food and yours is a place that I regularly turn to for inspiration and recipes.

Re: Stewed hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu

Is there any chance that this would work with regular water if I don't have dashi on hand?

Re: Stewed hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu

You can use water with dashi stock granules added, or even regular vegetable stock granules or cubes. It does need a bit of flavor added - just water would make it a bit bland.

Re: Stewed hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu

When do you add the soy and mirin?

Re: Stewed hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu

The hijiki is simmering as I write this, but I'd really like to know: is the seaweed supposed to keep much of its original flavour (and smell) when done? Because right now, it's really strong and not very pleasant. I use the wel-pac brand, soaked it until it swelled to huge amounts and drained and rinsed it vigorously. It still were a very noticable taste. Is there anything I can do to make it less so? Or is hijiki just not for me?

Re: Stewed hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu

I have made this recipe 3 times now and absolutely love it! Thank you for sharing it!


dashi is fish isn't it?


so where do you get the vegetarian dashi from? cause i haven't seen any in grocery shops yet :(

Re: vegan?!

Try clicking on the link in the recipe that says 'vegetarian dashi stock' - it will lead you to a vegan dashi recipe.

Re: Stewed hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu

Wow, what a terrific recipe and website! I recently returned from a 6 week trip to Japan, and your site is helping me recreate many of the flavors I enjoyed there. Thank you!

Re: Stewed hijiki seaweed with carrots and fried tofu

This is an excellent recipe! Thanks v v much, maki! :)

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