Most people would freak out at seeing a sea cucumber rather than call it food.
But did you know that sea cucumbers are known for their healing effects and other health benefits, like those containing antitumor properties?
Clearly not talking about the vegetable but the invertebrates living in most marine environments that look like big cucumbers.
Although incorporated in most Asian cuisines, today, the Chinese are known to be the largest consumers of these odd-looking creatures, which have been used in various medicines since the Ming Dynasty.
If you’ve ever wondered, “what does a sea cucumber taste like?” look no further.
We’ll explain in detail its taste profile and how to cook and serve these summer squash lookalikes.
What is Sea Cucumber?
If you’ve never seen a sea cucumber, you should look them up now.
These amazing sea animals are part of a larger group known as Echinoderms, and they have tough skins that are often termed leathery.
Sea cucumbers have elongated bodies that look like actual cucumbers, and over the years, researchers and experts found that Sea cucumbers are packed with all the essential nutrients valuable for a healthy diet.
Many studies also mention that Sea cucumbers help in reducing risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and many more serious conditions.
Used in most Asian cuisines, despite how they look, Sea cucumbers have a unique taste profile, and if cooked the right way, they can be the best thing you’ve ever had.
Sea cucumbers are also known for their low fat and calorie attribute, making them a pleasant ingredient to add to anyone’s weight loss journey.
What Does a Sea Cucumber Taste Like?
Now that we know what sea cucumbers are and why they are so popularly eaten by most cultures, especially Asians, let’s get into more detail about their taste profile and texture.
Not only do they bring medicinal and dietary properties to the table, but sea cucumbers are also eaten in a lot of ways and have many variations which can alter their taste profile.
Some people prefer it raw or pickled, and others prefer it fried.
But surprisingly, the taste profile of the sea cucumbers is naturally bland and has an undetectable flavor.
Because of its neutral taste, most people would often compare it to tofu, and similar to it, they take on whatever spices and ingredients you pair them with.
We can say that sea cucumbers are mostly eaten not because they are packed with intense flavor but because of their slimy texture while keeping a solid form when cooked.
A good reason why it is preferred and used mostly in Asian cuisines is not solely because of the medicinal properties but because they match the consistency of selected dishes.
Also, being bland in flavor has its perks since they are cooked with other meat or seafood without adding any rich flavors that could ruin the whole eating experience, but rather taking on their flavors quite well.
All in all, the entire bland and neutral-tasting flavor of the sea cucumber could be enhanced with proper ingredients and techniques.
How to Cook and Serve Sea Cucumber?
Although bland in flavor and taste initially, you can give the taste profile of sea cucumbers a whole new meaning.
The secret is in buying the sea cucumbers at the store.
It is important to note that, like all other ingredients, buying fresh sea cucumbers should be mandatory.
While it is normal for this invertebrate to have an extremely mild fishy aroma, pungent could mean they’ve gone bad.
You can find these cucumbers of the sea in most Asian markets, and they’ll mostly be sold cleaned.
And by clean, we mean their guts are already removed. If not, you can manually remove it yourself.
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to cook and serve sea cucumbers.
You can cut them into little pieces and serve them raw by marinating them in your preferred blend of delicious sauce and other ingredients.
Another way you can enjoy its mildly flavored, gluey texture is by stir-frying them with various vegetables and mixing spices to enhance their entire taste profile.
While the sea cucumbers may not be as succulent on their own, they can easily be made into a scrumptious treat that may as well turn into your favorite food.
Sea cucumbers are one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet.
They may not look very appetizing or bring the most flavors to the table, but they are known for being nutrient-packed and enhancing the taste profile of various dishes.
You can pair sea cucumbers with some of the most high-quality ingredients, prepped and served in many Asian cuisines that taste out of this world.
We hope this article answers all your queries.