What is Nori Seaweed and How to Eat it

How to Use Nori Seaweed in Japanese Cuisine
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    If you’ve ever eaten sushi, then you’ll probably recognize nori as the dark green seaweed used to wrap sushi rolls and Japanese rice balls. In this article, we’ll introduce the different ways you can use nori in Japanese cuisine, health benefits, and where nori comes from.

    What is Nori Seaweed?

    Nori seaweed is a type of edible seaweed used for cooking and as a raw material in different food products. Nori is traditionally produced in the coastal parts of Japan and has been used as a food product for centuries. Nowadays it's a popular ingredient in many meals - from sushi to salads and soups, or even on pizzas!

    What is Nori Seaweed?

    History of Nori and Production

    It’s not known exactly when nori seaweed first began to be consumed in Japan, but records show that it was mentioned as far back as 702. Nori was originally eaten wet, but during the Edo period, as demand grew to preserve the nori for longer, it was shredded and dried in the sun to create thin paper like sheets.

    Today, most Japanese nori is farm-raised in the cold sea in the regions of Kyushu, the Seto Inland Sea, Tokai, Chiba, and Miyagi. As summer comes to an end each year, nori farmers plant the seeds into nets, ready to be harvested from autumn until spring before being processed into nori sheets.

    History of Nori and Production

    Is Nori Seaweed Healthy?

    Nori is not only popular for its taste, but also has many health benefits. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers. It contains iodine which helps to maintain thyroid health. It also contains vitamin C which aids in boosting the immune system. And because nori is high in protein content, it helps to maintain muscles and energy levels too!

    Three Types of Nori You Can Buy and Which Dishes to Use Them for

    Nori sheets – the most common type of nori are nori sheets. Easy to cut, they are used for making sushi rolls and onigiri rice balls, have a crispy texture and umami flavor.

    Thinly cut nori strips – sliced into thin ribbons, this kind of nori is usually used as a topping for salads, pasta, or as decorative seasoning on dishes like noodles and donburi.

    Nori in plastic film – you can also purchase smaller nori sheets packaged in a plastic film which is really easy to use when wrapping onigiri and sushi rolls.

    Nori can be purchased toasted or raw. Toasted nori is more common because it is already dried and ready to use, whilst raw nori must be frozen for at least three days before it can be eaten without being cooked first.

    How to Cook Nori

    Nori can be prepared before cooking by soaking it in water for about 20 minutes and then squeezing out excess moisture. This will make it more pliable and easier to use during cooking. Nori should be softened before it is cooked because this will prevent the seaweed from sticking to the pan during stir-frying or frying.

    Nori in Vegan Dishes

    As a healthy plant-based product, nori is the perfect ingredient to add some umami flavor to vegan dishes. You can use nori to try making vegan-friendly onigiri filled with tofu or cucumber, or a nori furikake seasoning to put on top of rice. Nori can also help to add a seafood taste to dishes without eating fish.

    Nori in Vegan Dishes

    How to Store Nori Seaweed 

    Nori seaweed should be kept refrigerated because it is vulnerable to heat and humidity. Once the package has been opened, keep in an airtight moisture-proof container to preserve the taste and freshness.

    Where to Buy Nori

    These days you can buy nori seaweed easily from health food stores and Asian supermarkets, however if you want to try authentic, high-quality Japanese nori, then Japanese Taste have a wide selection of nori products you can order online which are shipped directly to your door. Browse the selection here.

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