Shio Kombu: How to Use Salted Kelp (5 Easy Recipes)

Seaweed is an indispensable part of Japanese cuisine. Especially, we Japanese often use Dashi soup stock made from Kombu seaweed, or edible kelp, in various dishes, which include miso soups, Nabemono hot-pot dishes, and noodle soups.

Kombu is not only prepared to make a soup stock but in Japan, there are actually a variety of foods that are made from the seaweed. If I give a representative example of such Japanese foods made with Kombu, what comes to mind right away is “Shio Kombu (塩こんぶ)”.

Shio Kombu (塩こんぶ)

Shio Kombu Salted Kelp

Shio Kombu is a traditional Japanese food consisting of thin strips of salted kelp, as “Shio (塩)” means salt in Japanese. The processed food is made by simmering down Kombu or edible kelp with Shoyu or soy sauce. Once the seaweed is cooked and dried, the soy sauce changes into crystalline salt on the surface.

Known as healthy food, Shio Kombu is packed with umami and rich in calcium and dietary fiber. But it is pretty salty, so we Japanese like to eat the seaweed shreds with plain white rice in particular.

Specifically, we often use Shio Kombu as a Furikake, the main ingredient in dishes like Ochazuke, a pickle seasoning, or for Onigiri or cooked rice. And below are the 5 easy recipes using the salted kelp.

Shio Kombu Furikake

Shio Kombu Furikake

Furikake (ふりかけ)” is a traditional Japanese rice seasoning consisting of tiny dry flakes or small bits of foods, such as meat, fish, seaweed, seafood, and eggs. Japanese people like eating steamed plain rice sprinkling Furikake on top.

Since Shio Kombu is pretty salty with plenty of umami, the seaweed strips are often used as a Furikake rice seasoning in Japan. If you want to try that, simply sprinkle the salted kelp over a hot bowl of plain rice and enjoy it.

Shio Kombu Ochazuke

Ochazuke (お茶漬け)” is a traditional Japanese rice bowl dish where steamed plain rice is entirely soaked in green tea or soup with some toppings.

In this case, Shio Kombu is the main ingredient. If you want to try that Shio Kombu Ochazuke, first sprinkle the salted kelp over a bowl of plain rice and then pour in hot Japanese green tea until it covers the surface.

Shio Kombu Onigiri

Shio Kombu Onigiri

As you know, “Onigiri (おにぎり)” is a Japanese comfort food made out of rice that has been packed together in a ball. If you want to make Shio Kombu Onigiri, before shaping the rice into a ball, simply mix the steamed plain rice with the salted kelp evenly well.

Shio Kombu Tuna Rice

By boiling in water 300g rinsed rice, 28g salted kelp, and 80g canned tuna with the oil drained, you can easily make a delicious rice bowl dish with Japanese taste.

Vegetable Pickles using Shio Kombu

As I wrote in this article before, Shio Kombu is often used as a pickle seasoning for fresh vegetables in Japan. Thus last, let me introduce the easy pickles recipe using the salted kelp.

Ingredient Quantity
Shio Kombu 10 g
Fresh cucumber about 50 g
  1. Cut the cucumber into 2 mm wide pieces
  2. Put the salted kelp and the cucumber together in a lidded container
  3. Shake the container about 50 times, holding the lid using both hands
  4. Ready to eat, Enjoy!

Not only that, but you can also make the Shio Kombu pickles using various kinds of vegetables other than cucumbers, such as Chinese cabbage, and Daikon radish.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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