N is for…Nori!
For the uninitiated, nori is one of many varieties of sea vegetable or seaweed, probably the most frequently found in the Western world due to its use as a wrap for sushi.
Sea vegetables, or seaweeds, are some of the most nutritious foods we can eat. They have more vitamins and trace minerals by weight than any other food. They are very alkaline, have antibiotic and antibacterial properties, aid in digestion, help maintain a healthy thyroid and reduce cholesterol. You also don’t need to have a lot to reap the benefits. Sound like a wonder food!
Just yesterday Christy at Blissful Bites posted about sea vegetables so if you want to learn a bit more (as well as grab an intriguing sounding recipe for a wakame-tofu “bacon” quiche) head on over there.
I’ve been wanting to make my own sushi for ages, and armed with a bag of proper sushi rice (I’ve since learned this isn’t actually essential but does help it stick together more easily), another buy from the Japan Centre, I finally set out to have a go. I was pleasantly surprised that they’re really not as hard as I thought, even without any specialist equipment.
I followed the instructions here, using agave nectar instead of white sugar and without a bamboo mat.
Sushi doesn’t have to be about fish. Even in a typical Japanese restaurant you should find plentiful vegan options, simple avocado and cucumber maki rolls probably the most common. If/when I get back to NYC, I’m making it a priority to try the elaborate sushi at the all-vegan restaurant Beyond Sushi.
The only thing about sushi rolls is that you can’t really fit much of the good stuff in them. I had to eat the leftover avocado and cucumber strips on the side.
If, like me, you prefer to load up on the fillings, and avoid the slightly delicate task of rolling sushi, I think a sushi “bowl” would be a better idea. A base of rice (short-grain brown would be my preference), strips of cucumber and carrot, some baked tofu or edamame for protein and finally slices of avocado and nori snipped with scissors on the top! Serve it like sushi rolls with good quality soy sauce and pickled ginger.
Here are a couple of other bloggers’ recipes using nori that I’m keen to try:
You may be wondering about that other dish on my plate? Well, I’m feeling generous today and giving you a 2 for 1post! My Carrot-Hijiki Salad made an excellent companion for the sushi. More of that tasty seaweed flavour, crunchy carrots and a sweet sesame dressing.
Considering I’m highlighting both nori and hijiki in today’s post, perhaps it would have been more fitting to have saved it for “S” for Seaweed…Never mind, they’ll be something else for S I assure you.
1/4C Dried hijiki
2C Shredded carrots (I used a food processor)
1/2T Rice vinegar
1t Agave nectar
3/4T Sunflower oil
1/2T Toasted sesame oil
Pinch of salt
1T Toasted Sesame seeds
Soak hijiki in warm water for 10 minutes to soften, drain and rinse. Combine with shredded carrots.
Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir through salad along with the toasted sesame seeds. Best eaten after refrigerating a couple of hours so the flavours can deepen.
Serve with sushi or as a side to any Japanese-inspired dish
There’s a huge variety of different sea vegetables out there but the only other one I’ve tried and use regularly is kombu. I add a strip to a pot of beans when soaking and cooking them as apparently it aids digestion.
Do you eat sea vegetables? Which others should I try?