Nori Flakes (pronounced "naw-ree"), Porphyra, are also called nori, seaweed flakes, or dried nori.
What Are Nori Flakes
Nori Flakes, made from edible seaweed, smells verdant and slightly nutty, with a bracing, salty snap that reaches back to the ocean from which is it farmed. Its pungent smell carries into its flavor, which is at once nutty and sweet and immense, its inherent brininess laden with oceanic umami flavor.
An edible red algae seaweed species. Nori is the Japanese name for this flavorful superfood from the sea, and it has been used in Japanese culinary tradition for thousands of years. In the US, Nori is best known as the salty and sweet green sea vegetable that holds together sushi rolls.
In addition to its starring roles as a wrap for sushi and in Japanese cuisine, Nori has a long history of use in traditional Chinese Medicine.
History of Nori
Nori has been eaten in Japan since at least the eighth century. Nori was first collected as it grew on oyster shells, rocks, wood, etc. in shallow waters along the coastline. Early in the Edo period (1603-1868), the Nori found growing in Edo Bay (today known as Tokyo Bay), near Asakusa, was especially delicious.
For hundreds of years, Nori was eaten in a wet, paste-like form. In the early 1900's, the dry sheet form was invented based on the paper making process. After being rinsed, strained, and chopped into very small pieces, the Nori is placed on a bamboo mat stretched on a wooden frame and then lowered into a tub of water to make a sheet. Once the bamboo mat is removed from the water, the Nori sheet is dried. After drying, sheets of Nori are usually roasted.
In the 1960's, Nori first gained recognition in the US at Asian markets and health food stores due to the burgeoning macrobiotic movement. Originating in Asian philosophy, the macrobiotic movement is based on life-long dietary guidelines. This diet and the philosophy attracted members of the 1960's counterculture movement including Beatle John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono.
The popularity of Nori continued to increase when, in 1970, the first sushi bar outside of Little Tokyo, Osho, opened in Hollywood and soon became a favorite of local celebrities. Sushi quickly caught on in California, and shortly after several sushi bars sprang up in both New York and Chicago, helping the dish spread throughout the US.
Early farming techniques consisted of setting bundles of twigs in the Edo River estuaries (estuaries are where rivers meet the sea and the mixture of fresh water draining from the rivers and the salty seawater make for some of the most productive ecosystems in the world), on which the red algae spores settled and grew, and the mature plants were harvested.
Today, with modern farming processes, the Nori plants grow attached to nets suspended at the sea surface. The plants grow rapidly, taking only 45 days from "seeding" until the first harvest. A single seedling can produce multiple harvests, which are typically taken in ten day intervals.
What Do Nori Flakes Taste Like
A nutty, subtly sweet-salty flavor.
It's not fishy, and by itself Nori has a very subdued flavor. But add some soy sauce to it and the texture softens while it develops a pronounced umami flavor.
How Do You Use Nori Flakes
Nori Flakes are one of the easiest ways to cook with and eat seaweed. They are a perfect addition to Ramen noodles. Make a vegetable dip by mixing with mayonnaise and yogurt, or slather this on a fish sandwich. Press into sliced tofu and bake. Add to crab cakes or clam chowder. Sprinkle over fish tacos, rice bowls, or salads. Make a vinaigrette with rice vinegar and shallots and toss over a simple green salad. Toss over lox.
|Also Called||Nori, seaweed flakes, or dried nori|
|Recommended Uses||Fish tacos, ramen noodles, rice bowls, or salads|
|Flavor Profile||A nutty, subtly sweet-salty flavor|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||1-2 years|
|Country of Origin||US|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO|
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Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*