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I was making seaweed salad for the first time tonight and had just finished soaking my wakame for some time. I rinsed it and put it in a colander, but just couldn't squeeze out very much water. The pieces stuck to my hands, squished, and made gurgling noises; but for the most part remained sopping wet, and later tasted completely waterlogged. Am I missing something here? I know there's a way to get water out because I've tasted wonderfully light and refreshing seaweed salad before, but my wakame (even hours later) is just a slimy bowl of sopping seaweed. Thanks!

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Most guides I've seen recommend a salad spinner after the initial draining/squeezing. I've never had trouble with that method.

Failing that, I guess you could blot or squeeze it with paper towels; that's what I used to do with lettuce before I had a spinner, and it works... sort of... but not as well, and you'll go through a lot of paper towels that way.

Given that we are talking about seaweed here, I wouldn't try to get it perfectly dry. Restaurants actually use specialized (and very expensive) automatic "vegetable dryers" that I believe operate on a similar concept as a clothes dryer. You're not going to get that kind of result at home. Just squeeze or spin-dry enough to get it past the "sopping" stage.

It's also possible that you soaked it too long. More than a few minutes and it will just turn to mush, which may have been your problem. I've seen at least one ridiculous recipe for seaweed salad calling for a 5-minute rinse and a 15+ minute soak, which is pretty much guaranteed to give you slime.

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I haven't tried it with wakame myself, but wrapping something like blanched chard in a towel and twisting the free ends to squeeze it works extremely well. –  Josh Caswell Dec 2 '12 at 19:50
    
True, you might be able to use a tea towel in place of paper towels... less absorbent but also less wasteful. –  Aaronut Dec 2 '12 at 20:38
    
Ok, I'll take that into account next time. I'll definitely try a salad spinner, but I do think I probably soaked it too long. Would 5 minutes be a good time in general? –  Walker Dec 3 '12 at 4:10
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@Walker: 5 minutes may even be too long, although it's hard to be exact with variations in seaweed products (not to mention the water). You really just want to soften it; don't let it go completely limp. –  Aaronut Dec 3 '12 at 23:21
    
Okay, thank you all! –  Walker Dec 4 '12 at 5:18
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