FOOD: What’s new with Nori?

If the only time you tend to eat NORI (dried seaweed) is with sushi, you’re missing out.

Sablefish over Nori
Sablefish (marinade is my own recipe) over Nori in cast iron pan

You probably know nori best as the paper-like dark green wrapping that keeps pieces of sushi neatly — and deliciously! — contained.

There was a time when I made sushi from scratch (not the seafood part, but the assembling of it all with rice, nori & wasabi and then rolling and cutting it to make California rolls or tuna maki, etc.  It was a way of being artistic as top sushi chefs are artists of a sort.  Also I wanted to impress my parents after living in Tokyo by making them sushi…..which at the time, they weren’t used to at all.  My mom hated raw fish and spit it out when I wasn’t looking.

However in Vancouver Japanese sushi restaurants are a dime a dozen plus it was costing me more to make it, so I stopped. The other day I marinated Sablefish overnight.  The next day as I was preparing to cook it I realized I had some sheets of Nori that were unopened. Hmmm…..what can I use them for now that I no longer make sushi? Without using any specific recipe I decided to place the Sablefish over top of a few Nori sheets and bake it in the oven.  I knew from toasting nori in the past over a stovetop that it would probably toast in the oven too.  But I wasn’t completely sure of the outcome.  End result: nice & tender perfectly cooked fish with Asian Marinade and crispy seaweed.  The combo was quite yummy and my two guinea pigs were very pleased.

Asian Marinade of
Asian Marinade of soy, sake, mirin, sesame oil, chopped fresh ginger, garlic & a bit of honey, patted dry before baking. Side of steamed baby bok choy & little boiled potatoes with fresh herbs & butter.

So I decided to check into how to use Nori for other recipes.

Nori Sheet
Nori Sheet

How long does it keep, How is it made & Where can you buy it?

These crisp sheets of mild grassy-tasting seaweed last forever in the pantry packaged in an airtight container or ziplock bags and can come in handy when you just need “a little something extra” to perk up a weeknight meal. If they start to lose their crispness, you can re-toast them (carefully!) over the flame on a gas stove (as I have done in the past).

Nori is made by shredding edible seaweed and then pressing it into thin sheets — much like the process for making paper. You can find packages of it at any Asian grocery store, Whole Foods, and more and more frequently these days, regular grocery stores. Nori that is sold as “plain” or “toasted” is the most versatile sort for our cooking purposes.

It also comes with a whack load of healthy benefits.  (I will post this separately – ups).

Other ways to use it:

  1. Crispy Nori Snacks: Crisp those sheets of nori a little more, and by golly, you have yourself some nori chips!
  2. Furikake Seasoning: This blend of nori and sesame seeds makes a simple rice dish taste like it came straight from a restaurant kitchen. It’s *easy to make yourself at home.
  3. Soup and Rice Bowl Topper: Add a little extra crunch to your next bowl of soup or rice. Toasted Nori – These thin sheets of pressed seaweed crisp up beautifully after a few minutes in a low oven or toaster oven, then you can crumble them on top of a bowl of soup. Brush the top with water for even crispier sheets! Slice nori into thin ribbons and sprinkle away. Also try using it over omelets, baked fish, salads, steamed vegetables, and anywhere where you might like nori’s crisp texture.

*Vegetarian Furikake Rice Seasoning

2 sheets toasted nori seaweed
1/4 cup toasted white and/or black sesame seeds.(You can just use whole sesame seeds, but I like to include both whole and ground for added texture).
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Toast the nori over a low flame or burner, waving each sheet over the burner until it crisps and the color changes. Using scissors, cut into small pieces.

With a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder, combine 1/8 cup sesame seeds, salt, and sugar.

Combine nori with ground sesame seed mixture and remaining 1/8 cup whole sesame seeds. Store in an airtight container.

To serve, sprinkle over or mix into rice or noodles.

What other ways do you like to use nori?

Source (for other ways):

Photos: d. king



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