Miso - Flavored Stir - Fry Of Kelp And Squid

Miso-flavored stir-fry of kelp and squidAlthough kelp cannot be harvested in the warm seas of Okinawa, it is heavily utilized there, but as a food item and not used to make stock.
During the Edo Period (1603-1867), kelp produced in Hokkaido was brought to the Ryukyu Kingdom via the Satsuma Domain, what is now Kagoshima Prefecture, and some was exported to China from Ryukyu. Kelp is said to be embraced by Ryukyu cuisine due to its good chemistry with pork.

Ayaka Yamamoto, the 80-year-old expert of Ryukyu cuisine, chose kelp as the main ingredient this week.

“It is a home-cooked dish but one which is being forgotten lately,” she says.

Use thinner kelp meant for eating. Adjust the amount of soup according to the thickness of the kelp and the size of the frying pan. The soup should be just enough to cover the ingredients. Since squid is the supporting player, easily available frozen ones may be used.

Okinawan cuisine is known for its wide variety of sauteed dishes. The stir-fry dishes have different names depending on how they are cooked.

If you stir-fry rice or somen noodles briefly, it is called “tashiya.” Stir-frying with tofu is called “chanpuru.” “Irichi” is a dish that is stir-fried and simmered. Ingredients are stir-fried first and then allowed to absorb all the soup. According to Yamamoto, this week’s dish is an irichi. Among the irichi using kelp, “kubu-irichi” cooked with pork is well known.

“But there are other ways like this one,” she says.

Yamamoto is concerned that a few dishes such as “goya chanpuru” and “rafute” have become popular, given new twists and are moving away from tradition.

“Without mastering the basics, you cannot change the form nor innovate,” stresses Yamamoto.

Her endeavor to hand down dishes brimming with the wisdom of her ancestors along with the rich expression of “uchinaguchi,” or the language of Okinawa, continues.


Serves four:

45 grams kelp

200 grams squid

1/3 bunch garlic chives (nira)

40 grams miso

40 cc awamori liquor

Soup (200 cc each of dried-bonito stock and awamori)

1 Tbsp each of oil and granulated sugar


Reconstitute kelp and cut into rectangles. Cut squid into appropriate size and boil briefly. Chop garlic chives.

Add awamori and sugar to miso and mix.

Place frying pan with oil over heat and stir-fry kelp. Once oil coats kelp, pour soup and simmer.

When kelp has softened, add squid. Once squid has warmed, add miso mixture and sautee. Add garlic chives and mix. It is done when the garlic chives are cooked.