Cochayuyo - Gastro Obscura
Our new kids' book is on sale! Shop now.

Fruits & Vegetables

Cochayuyo

This hearty kelp has been feeding Chileans for at least 14,000 years.

The briny, edible seaweed known as cochayuyo, or Durvillaea antarctica, has a long history in southern Chilean cuisine. Archaeologists found dried remains of cochayuyo in 14,000-year-old hearths at Monte Verde, suggesting that early communities used the protein-heavy plant as a dietary staple.

Chileans still opt to include cochayuyo in family recipes, despite no longer needing to lean on the seaweed for sustenance. Cooks chop up the plant’s stem and add it to traditional stews, ceviches, and salads. Though its flavor is rather mild, it does add a chewy texture and saltiness to dishes. Creative vegetarian chefs also use cochayuyo as a meat replacement, working it into empanadas, croquettes, and risottos.

The seaweed has plenty of fans beyond Chile’s shoreline. The country exports dried cochayuyo to Taiwan, and the kelp grows wild around New Zealand, as well.

Where to Try It
Contributed by
rachelrummel rachelrummel
Add your photos
Be the first to share a photo of this item with our community.