Collard or Spring Greens “Crispy Seaweed” {British Chinese Restaurant Style}

If you’ve ever been to a Chinese restaurant in the UK, you’ll notice they all have “crispy seaweed” on their menus. Well, it’s not seaweed at all but fried spring greens or collard greens. You can also make crispy seaweed with kale. Most chinese restaurants sprinkle them with a dusting of dried shrimp, salt and sugar. I have yet to find dried shrimp powder where we live so I have omitted it but if you do find it, it’s delicious! Much tastier than it sounds!

I love to serve it with my Tuna Poke. The warm crunchiness of the “seaweed” together with the tender cool tuna is a match made in heaven!

Tuna Poke with Brown Rice and "Crispy Seaweed"


  • Difficulty: Easy
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4 to 6 collar green (or kale or spring cabbage) leaves
Pot of boiling water
Oil for frying
Salt, sugar and shrimp powder (optional)

Pre-heat your oil to 350°F
Bring a pot of water to the boil
Rinse and pat dry your leaves
Cut out the thick stems from the leaves slicing leaves in half
Stack the halves together
Roll them up tightly into a thick cylinder
Slice them finely into ribbons
Place sliced ribbons into the hot water and blanch them for 45 seconds
Drain and squeeze the water out of them using your hands or kitchen paper
Place into the hot oil and fry for 30 seconds staring once or twice
Drain onto kitchen paper
Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of shrimp powder (any or all are optional)

You can use cabbage, collar greens, kale or spring greens.
Careful when adding the greens to the oil! The hot oil will spit. It can get messy but so worth it!
The deep-fried “seaweed” can be eaten fresh or kept for a few hours or overnight. If you don’t eat it straight away, simply reheat it in a 350°F oven for a couple of minutes to restore crunchiness.

© 2014-2015 Caroline’s Family Kitchen and

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Crispy Seaweed CFK


  1. Leave a Reply


    One of the best recipes I have tried for making Crispy Seaweed (Kale or dark greens)

    • Leave a Reply


      Thank you Paula! I am so happy you liked it!

  2. Leave a Reply


    OMG!? This makes so much sense now!? We use to live in England, RAF Lakenheath. Wonderful Chinese restaurant called Wong’s Chinese. (Truthfully I could have eaten there everyday.) Their side dish “Crispy Seaweed,” was sweet yet salty. Perfect crunch to add to noodles, rice, you name it! The kids and I could eat the dish alone! You have helped me figure out WHY now back in the States people look at me like I’m mental after saying “this isn’t what I ordered.” Holy crapballs, we’ll be doing this after the holidays!? THANK YOU!!!

    • Leave a Reply


      Kalyn, I’m so happy you found this recipe. I was equally overjoyed when I worked out what the “seaweed” in UK Chinese restaurants actually was, and that I could make it at home! 🙂 Enjoy! Thanks for your feedback!

  3. Leave a Reply


    I am so happy to know about this. I was recently in London and had crispy seaweed and just loved it. Could not find it on a menu back in the US where I live. I’m excited to prepare this myself. Thanks so much.

    • Leave a Reply


      Thanks for your feedback Rebecca! I too was so happy when I realized what it was and how to make it. The only thing I miss and haven’t found yet is the dry shrimp powder the sprinkle on top. It’s a bit messy but oh so worth it! 🙂 Enjoy!

  4. Leave a Reply

    Lize and Thome

    Hi! WOW WHAT A TREAT! Me and boyfriend went out for (vegan!) chinese food the other week and came away craving seaweed – this recipe is FAB, just like you get in a restaurant (and half the price), we put chinese five spice on top with sugar and salt (instead of shrimp powder) and it tasted great. Thanks so much!

  5. Leave a Reply

    Roger Lustig

    Thanks! One question: why have I preheated the oven? I see that mentioned in the notes, but not in the recipe per se.

    • Leave a Reply


      Hi there! If you don’t eat the “seaweed” straight away, you can just re-heat it in the oven so it dries out and becomes crunchy once more. But not necessary if you are eating it straight away after frying or if it hasn’t gone soggy. 🙂 Thanks for mentioning this. I’ll make the recipe clearer.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Ann Thomas

    I adore crispy seaweed and will certainly be making it at home. Linhs in Fordham Cambridgeshire does the best I have found. They serve it with scallops but we leave those off. Their crispy lamb served with pancakes and accompaniments as a starter is to die for.

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