From pest to the palate? Try cooking some jellyfish with a “flip flop” texture.
Nice try, but there are no culinary awards for stir-fried jellyfish just yet.
Still, if you want to cook it, here’s a method from the Israeli food blog Ptitim (Hebrew), written by a cook who goes only by “Gal.”
With all the delicious food available in Israel, why cook jellyfish? It seems that Gal got fed up with the seasonal jellyfish invasion that makes the beach impossible and decided to turn the pest into something tasty.
“Time to take revenge!” he writes, adding wryly, “But before you start rolling your eyes, look at the bright side. One less jellyfish in the sea!”
With the swarms of jellyfish making life hard for Middle-Eastern beach-lovers, I suppose you could call it a sustainable crop. And Gal’s recipe has 1,500 “likes” on Facebook so far. Maybe its popularity is due to the cook’s humor, like the comment on one of his photos: “We don’t say eeeuw to good food!”
In spite of the light tone, Gal took his jellyfish seriously. He researched the correct type (apparently not all jellyfish are alike edible). Wearing heavy rubber gloves to avoid getting stung, he gathered a few fresh ones from a nearby beach. Surprisingly, he says that each weighs about as much as a small watermelon.
He washed his catch repeatedly in very hot water, which deactivates the stinging toxins, then again in cold. Chopping the inedible tentacles away, he touched the meat to test for sting. No sting, so he tasted a little of the raw jellyfish.
“Tasteless,” he commented, “with a texture like flip-flops.”
Hoping to improve the taste, he chopped the flesh into strips and put them in a marinade of soy sauce, rice vinegar and chili for half an hour. Gal then stir-fried the strips for one minute and set them aside on a paper towel to drain. An Asiatic mixture of mushrooms and vegetables went into the wok and the jellyfish was added.
Mixed with soba noodles, the dish actually looks pretty good. (Even if you don’t read Hebrew, it’s worth looking at the photos on the blog).
Gal took a deep breath and tasted.
“The jellyfish has no flavor at all. All you taste is the other ingredients. And the texture is still like rubber tires.”
Was it worth the bother?
“It was worth it for the culinary experience,” writes Gal. “Next time, calamari!”
More on jellyfish from Green Prophet:
- Tips Against Jellyfish Invasions
- New Jellyfish Species Tells of Global Warming
- Corals Feeding on Jellyfish: Adaption To Climate Change?
Photos of jellyfish stir-fry by Gal.
Miriam also blogs at Israeli Kitchen.