Local e-tailer Meal Belly delivers it here at a quarter of the usual cost.
<b>Left:</b> Quinoa with edamame, a soft egg and green caviar
<b>Right:</b> Smoked salmon “carpaccio” with opal basil, kale puree and green caviar
It’s jade green, comes in a cluster like grapes, tastes like seaweed and has a royal name of “green caviar”, but is technically not caviar.
Say hello to Caulerpa Lentillifera, or its friendlier translation: sea grapes. Predominantly harvested from the waters of Okinawa, Japan, it’s said to have a host of health benefits, including strengthening the bones and joints, preventing hypertension and diabetes, and encouraging the growth of healthy hair.
Okinawa residents consider them “longevity seaweed”. And they’d know what they’re talking about – after all, they have a rep for living a long and healthy life; the Okinawa islands are home to the greatest proportion of centenarians in Japan.
Green caviar is not expensive, but its price goes up when it’s imported through international online retailers (it costs approximately $22 per 100g, excluding a shipping fee of about $30). Well, not anymore.
Dirisa Tan, founder of e-tailer Meal Belly (http://www.mealbelly.com), was so taken with green caviar after tasting it for the first time that she found a way to have it farmed, harvested and delivered to Singapore at a better price.
Instead of Okinawa, Tan sources from one of the major exporters of green caviar in the Khanh Hoa province (located in the south- central coast of Vietnam), with whom she has an exclusive partnership. The waters here enjoy a constant salinity level and ocean temperature of 27 deg C. These conditions help the green caviar to thrive, and allow farmers to plant and harvest green caviar seeds directly from the ocean bed in isolated ocean ponds.
The green caviar is harvested by hand, washed and soaked in oxygenated water (this makes it safe for immediate consumption), then packed and shipped to Singapore. Instead of the high prices charged by international online retailers, Meal Belly charges just $12 per 100g (about five servings).
Tan recommends having it as a snack directly from the pack, or as a topping for your salad or poke bowl. “The magic of green caviar, other than its health benefits, is that it can be eaten in any way you like,” she says. “The preparation process is eﬀortless – simply rinse, soak and serve.”
Or you can do what chef and TV personality Angela May (who is as impressed with the superfood as we are) did: make a restaurant-grade appetiser and main with it – each in just three steps.
Quinoa with edamame, a soft egg and green caviar
1. Rinse 100g of quinoa over a sieve for a minute to remove saponins (phytochemicals that give the seeds a bitter taste).
2. Cook for 15 mins on low heat; season with salt and pepper.
3. Mix in 40g of shelled edamame, then top with a slow-cooked soft egg (sous vide at 62 deg C or poached) and green caviar.
Smoked salmon “carpaccio” with opal basil, kale puree and green caviar
1. Arrange smoked salmon on a flat plate.
2. Blanch kale for 30 seconds, then plunge it into an ice bath to keep it vibrantly green. Remove it from the icy water and pat dry. Blend it in a blender with a little bit of olive oil until the mixture becomes a thick paste.
3. Dot the plate with the kale puree. Add opal basil and green caviar over the salmon.