What is kombu and where can I find it?
Ah, the kombu... its a large flat seaweed that's been dried into sheets. Supposedly, when you cook kombu with dried beans it makes them easier to digest and hence, there's "less wind", as it is said. I've never tried cooking beans with kombu and then without to see if this is so. I just like the fact that most seaweeds are very high in trace minerals and they add a mild "richness" to the flavor of the beans or the soup. When you cook them with the beans, by the time the beans become soft and ready, the kombu will have conpletely broken down and you won't notice it at all, visually.
Your best bet shopping for and finding kombu will be at a Whole Foods Market, a specialty health food store or possibly at oriental markets.
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