A simple side dish, Sautéed Potato with Shio Konbu has a unique flavour combination of butter and salted dried kelp. This is a perfect match of Western and Asian flavours.
Instead of sautéing potatoes with herbs such as rosemary, garlic and/or chives, I sautéed potatoes with flavoured dried kelp (konbu). My Sautéed Potato is slightly salty and full of umami, which comes from the konbu strips.
About Shio Konbu (塩昆布)
Traditionally, shio konbu (salted dried kelp) is made from the kelp used to make dashi stock (so that the used kelp is not wasted). Used konbu is cut into small pieces and cooked in soy sauce and salt, sometimes with mirin or sugar.
Konbu has umami, and by cooking it in soy sauce (which also has umami) the umami in the konbu is further enhanced. That’s why shio konbu is very tasty. Although it is quite salty if eaten by itself.
The shape of the kelp pieces can be either small and square, or thin strips like those in the photo above. The texture of the shio konbu can be slightly wet or very dry.
The dry shio konbu often comes with salt powder around it. In the case of the traditional method of making shio konbu, the amount of salt absorbed into the konbu is so much that the salt on the kelp crystallises and white salt powder surfaces when the kelp is completely dried.
But these days, the konbu does not contain an excessive amount of salt to allow for crystallisation of salt. Instead, the salt mixture is sprinkled over the dried kelp to look like the traditional salted kelp.
You can make shio konbu at home, but it is much easier to buy it from Japanese/Asian grocery shops. Most shio konbu sold at the grocery stores are dried konbu strips coated with white salty powder, which I used today.
You might find that the wet shio konbu is also labelled as ‘konbu no tsukudani’ (昆布の佃煮), meaning simmered kelp.
People serve shio konbu as a side dish and a condiment for Japanese sweets. It is also used as a filling for rice balls, or as a topping on cooked rice.
What is in my Sautéed Potato with Shio Konbu
There aren’t many ingredients required to make today’s dish. The garnish is optional, but the specks of green on the potatoes make the dish look more attractive.
- Small potatoes – peeled and sliced into 1cm / ⅜” thick pieces
- Shio konbu (dried shredded kelp)
- A pinch of salt (optional)
- finely chopped green onion
I used chat potatoes (baby potatoes) that were about 4cm / 1½” in diameter. If you are using large potatoes, halve or quarter them before slicing so that each piece becomes a bite-size piece.
I used salt-reduced shio konbu. If you are not using salt-reduced shio konbu, you may want to use unsalted butter and adjust the saltiness by adding a small amount of salt.
How to make Sautéed Potato with Shio Konbu
- Cook sliced potatoes in microwave.
- Sauté the potatoes in a frying pan.
- Add butter and shio konbu to the pan and mix well until the butter melts.
- Adjust the flavour with salt.
- Sprinkle the green onions over the potatoes.
Potatoes should not be cooked too much in the microwave because you will sauté the potatoes after coking them in the microwave. If you feel that the centre of the potato pieces are slightly underdone, that would be just right.
The dish looks more appetising if the surface of the potatoes is slightly browned.
Sautéed Potato Variations
Shape of the potatoes: Some recipes cut potatoes into thick sticks or small cubes. There are no rules as to what shape the potatoes should be cut into, so be creative. But you probably don’t want each piece to be too large as the flavour does not penetrate the potatoes.
Cutting the potatoes into similar sizes is also a good practice so that they cook at the same time.
Adding Vegetables: You can add sliced Asian mushrooms such as shimeji mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms when sautéing the potatoes. The amount of shio konbu needs to be adjusted per the total volume of potatoes and mushrooms.
You could also add snow peas instead of (or in addition to) mushrooms, like the dish below. Then the dish will look more colourful and attractive. Having said that, I actually like the way it is without other vegetables.
Sautéed Potato with Shio Konbu keeps 2-3 days in the fridge. Serve at room temperature or hot by reheating in the microwave.
As simple side dish, Sautéed Potato with Shio Konbu has a unique flavour combination of butter and Shio Konbu (salted dried kelp). This is a perfect combination of flavours, developed by combining the Western and Asian ingredients.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 300g / 0.7lb potatoes (6 baby potatoes, note 1)
- 1 tsp oil
- 10g / 0.6oz shio konbu (note 2)
- ½ tbsp butter (note 3)
- A pinch of salt (note 3)
- 1 tbsp green onion finely chopped
Peel skin off and slice potatoes into 1cm / ⅜” thick discs. If you have a large potato, halve or quarter it before slicing so that you can make bite-size pieces.
Spread the potato pieces on a microwave-safe plate without overlapping, loosely cover with a cling wrap.
Microwave for 3 minutes (note 4) at 600W, until the potatoes are almost cooked through, but the centre is a touch hard. Remove the cling wrap.
Add oil to a frying pan and heat over medium high heat.
Add potato pieces to the pan and sauté until the surface of the potatoes starts browning.
Bring the heat to low. Add shio konbu and butter to the frying pan and mix until the butter melts and there is no white powder on the konbu pieces.
Taste test the saltiness. If required, add a pinch of salt and mix.
Turn the heat off and transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl/plate and sprinkle the green onion over the potatoes. Serve while hot.
1. In Australia, baby potatoes are sold as chat potatoes and I used 6 of them. I used small potatoes so that each slice becomes a disc-shape. You can use large potatoes as an alternative - you'll need to halve it or quarter them before slicing.
2. You can buy a pack of shio konbu at Japanese/Asian grocery stores or online. I used salt-reduced shio konbu but you don’t need to use the salt-reduced type.
3. You might find that shio konbu is quite salty, particularly if it is not salt-reduced, and mixing it with salted butter might make the potatoes too salty (depending on your palate). To overcome this problem, you may use unsalted butter and adjust the saltiness by adding salt.
4. The cooking time varies depending on the size of the potato pieces. After 2 minutes, poke a potato with a skewer and see how far the skewer can get through and adjust the cooking time.
5. Sautéed Potatoes keeps 2-3 days in the fridge. Serve at room temperature or hot by reheating it in microwave.
6. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 83g calories: 84kcal fat: 2.7g (4%) saturated fat: 1g (5%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 1.7g monounsaturated fat: 1.5g cholesterol: 0mg (0%) sodium: 546mg (22%) potassium: 368mg (10%) carbohydrates: 14g (4%) dietary fibre: 1.9g (8%) sugar: 0.7g protein: 2.0g vitamin a: 0% vitamin c: 25% calcium: 1.3% iron: 4.1%