Japanese ingredients for your healthy life

Nori, Japanese seaweed

A truly fine food

One of the most well known and highly used Japanese foods is nori. For most people, their first experience with nori probably came through trying sushi and seeing a green substance wrapped around white rice, probably wondered what it was. Nori, also commonly known as seaweed laver, fast became a bit of a household favourite for many people, so much so that it can easily be found now in Asian supermarkets around the world as well as regular supermarkets throughout the world. Today, we take a look at what nori is and all the interesting things about it.

 

The process of making nori is very interesting. Nori is farmed in the sea, where the seaweed is grown attached to nets that are suspended in the sea using a system of buoys. The process of making the seaweed is pretty quick with many forms only taking about 50 days before being ready to harvest. Often the same plant will be harvested more than once as it can be revisited multiple times in a month. To harvest the plants, farmers use boats to move throughout the waters as one would expect and the seaweed itself is harvested using mechanical methods. The finished product is a very thin sheet of dried seaweed that is packaged into plastic and sold in a variety of sizes.

 

The Japanese love nori and for good reason, itfs very, very good for you. In fact, it is said that Japanese people eat three times more nori in a year than the Chinese do and China has around ten times more people! Wow, that is some nori loving right there, huh. Nori is high in A, B1, B2, B6, c and niacin. Not only is it believed to reduce cholesterol but itfs also very high in protein. It is also believed by many people that nori can help to reduce fat absorption by as much as 70% because of the seaweedfs natural digestive enzyme called lipase which helps to break down fats. One of the other great things about nori is that it is also high in omega 3 fatty acids and fiber! Talk about a super food, nori is not only tasty, but it is very good for you too!


Adaptability in the kitchen

Nori is one of the most adaptable ingredients in Japanese cooking because it pretty much goes with any savoury dish. Here are a couple of ideas on how to use nori.

 

First of all, use it as a garnish. Because nori is so good for us, we should try to put it on anything and everything we can! The Japanese make a small almost powdered form of nori called kizaminori in Japanese. This is basically just nori sheets broken down into little pieces which are the perfect size to sprinkle on food. This is a great food to sprinkle on any fried rice that you make, whether it is homemade and quite random in style or professionally made with an angle towards a certain countryfs style of cooking, whatever the fried rice dish, sprinkling a little kizaminori on will give it more healthy nori and make it even yummier. Another way to brighten up something that may seem pretty standard is to sprinkle a little nori on pastac Yes, thatfs right paste. In actual fact, a little nori goes extremely well on any pasta. My personal preference is pasta with seafood in it, especially muscles or squid. The balance of the seafood itself with the seaweed goes very well against the fantastic base that pasta is. This is an absolute must if you love seafood and have never tried this before.

 

Maki sushi is of course the classic nori favourite. Maki Sushi is the rolled form of nori that we know and love so much. Sushi comes in many forms such as nigirizushi which is the form where the sushi maker makers a small elongated oval shaped ball of rice in their hands and places a piece of raw fish on top on it. Maki Sushi is the form where you place an even and flat amount of vinegared rice on a sheet of nori, fill it with raw fish or whatever you like and then roll it up. Maki sushi, once youfve made it a few times and got the hang of rolling it, is pretty easy to make and is really such a great way to utilize the brilliance of nori. I recommend this form of sushi just because you can put anything in and it doesnft have to be expensive.

 

Onigiri is another sushi great and it is often a mystery food for many people. Onigiri is essentially a rice ball usually wrapped in nori. Onigiri is made from a handful of rice and is usually filled with delicious ingredients such as tuna and mayonnaise. it is really easy to make and can usually be kept out of the fridge for the day before eating without upsetting the stomach. It is such a great example of how to utilize nori as all you have to do is wrap it around the rice and enjoy not only the taste but the health benefits also.

Affordable and accessible

Nori is easy to find and itfs cheap. Nowadays, nori distribution is so widespread around the world that we can find it in all Asian supermarkets and almost all domestic supermarkets in reasonably large city. Fortunately, itfs not usually too expensive and it can work out very cost effective if we buy it in bulk. Nori is usually sold in packs of 10, 25, 50 and 100. For specialized forms such as long sheets that go perfectly for onigiri the number of sheets may vary but just like any commodity item, the more you buy, the cheaper per sheet it should be. If you really like nori and like to use if on lots of things, then itfs certainly worth buying a large pack of 100 and just storing it in the fridge as it should last a few months at least.

 

Nori is truly one of the great japanese foods and I wholeheartedly recommend anyone to start using it in their cooking on a regular basis. Not only will you benefit from the health advantages but you will also come to enjoy the wonderful taste and its adaptability in savoury meals.