Seaweed & Sparerib Soup

This is a wonderful winter comfort food that is a snap to put together, although it does need some time to cook. For this dish you should look for kelp (scientifically called laminaria, known as haidai in Mandarin) that has been dried in strips. If you don’t have an Asian market nearby, you can alternatively order from the Maine Seaweed Company if already know you like seaweed. For more information on seaweed, you can visit this page about the medicinal value of seaweed and Michael Guiry’s Seaweed Site, which has a lot of scientific info and great pictures.


  • 1/2 lb pork spareribs, cut across the bone into 2″ sections, then separated into individual ribs
  • 1 qt water or broth
  • 4-5 strips of kelp (they will grow enormously!)
  • salt to taste – seaweed is salty, so you may not need to add any


  1. Place the ribs in the liquid and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and skim any scum from the top of the liquid – if you boil too rapidly, your soup will be cloudy. Simmer for approximately 45 m, or until almost completely tender.
  2. In the meantime, wash the kelp, soak it in cool water, then rinse it again before cutting it into 2″ sections.
  3. Add the kelp to the soup, and simmer for 30 m more. The kelp will help to thicken the soup slightly and give it a smooth, glossy look and feel.
  4. Adjust the seasoning, and serve.

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