Chicken Wings and Konbu Kelp Stewed with Ume Plum

Stewing brings out a lot of umami in both the konbu kelp and chicken wings. Add pickled plum for a refreshing sour accent.

Chicken Wings and Konbu Kelp Stewed with Ume Plum
Photographed by Takeshi Noguchi

Recipe by
Eiko Oba






Calorie count is per serving

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 40 g konbu kelp
  • 300 ml reserved water from rehydrating konbu kelp
  • 6 chicken wings (300 g)
  • 2 umeboshi (pickled plum)
  • 1/2 piece ginger (small)
  • [A]

    • 2 tbsp mirin
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp sake



Wash the konbu kelp and place it in water to rehydrate, and reserve the water it rehydrates in. Cut it in half along its length, then cut both strips into pieces 4-5 cm long. Cut off the tip of each of the chicken wings. Thinly slice the ginger into rounds, with its skin still on.


Cut off the thin tip of each chicken wing, cutting at the last joint. Place your knife into the last joint of the wing, where it bends if you flex it. Chicken wingtips don't have much meat on them, but they provide lots of flavor when you add them to a dish.


Oil a frying pan with 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil and preheat over medium heat, then place the chicken wings in the frying pan with the thick-skinned side down. Fry until they begin to brown, then turn over and fry the other side.


Add the konbu kelp and ginger and briefly stir-fry, then add the sake and the reserved water from rehydrating the konbu kelp. Tear apart the umeboshi (pickled plum) with your hands as you add it, then mix the ingredients together. When the frying pan comes to a simmer, add [A] and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 min, occasionally stirring and turning over the chicken wings and konbu kelp.


Rehydrating Konbu Kelp
(1) Briefly wash the konbu kelp with plenty of water, and remove any sand or debris stuck to its surface. Place the konbu kelp in a metal tray and add just enough water to cover, then let sit for about 20 min, occasionally turning over and pressing any parts that stick out of the water back under the surface. When it has become larger and softer, it is finished rehydrating. It should look less wrinkled, with a glossy surface, and will expand along its length, width, and thickness, to about 4 times its dry weight.
(2) Konbu kelp changes size and shape when it rehydrates, so it's best to wait until after it is rehydrated to cut it . Place it on your cutting board, running horizontally, and cut it along its length into 2-3 strips, then cut each strip into easy-to-eat pieces (or otherwise, depending on the recipe). Rehydrated konbu kelp can be slippery, so use caution when cutting it.