15 Aug 2006

Sea Vegetables - Nori (Laver)

Nori seaweed is mainly known for it's use as a sushi wrap in the West although it is used in a variety of ways in the East. It is used fresh or sun dried for later use. Over 9 billion sheets of dried nori are consumed in Japan every year. There are written records going back for over 1500 years on nori's health benefits and nutrition.

It is high in fiber, protein, vitamin C, calcium, iron, iodine and zinc. Nori, like all seaweed, is excellent for Vegans as it provides up to ten times more calcium and iron by weight than milk.

In the East research has shown seaweed strengthens the circulatory system and lowers cholesterol. It also boosts metabolism so helps with weight-loss. Both pets and plants benefit from it as well.

In Wales and other parts of Europe nori is called laver. The Welsh make it into laver bread by mixing oatmeal, fresh boiled laver and orange juice, forming it into cakes and frying. A popular dish there on the Saint David's Day.

Nori is deep purple in color and turns dark green when toasted for around 30 seconds. The easiest way to enjoy it is to place toasted squares on top of steamed rice or crumble it on top of your miso or other clear soups. Or you can take the plunge and try making some homemade vegan sushi. To help you, you can find a simple, illustrated, seven step method on how to wrap the ingredients on sheets of nori at Coastal Living .

Recipe of the Day

Vegetarian Nori Rolls
Submitted by: Anne Buchanan
From: All Recipes

5 servings
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 2 Hours

2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
2 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons raw sugar, maple syrup or other sweetener
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch strips
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 sheets nori seaweed sheets
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1/2 avocado, julienned
1 small carrot, julienned

1. In a large saucepan cover rice with water and let stand for 30 minutes.
2. In a shallow dish combine soy sauce, honey and garlic. In this mixture marinate tofu for at least 30 minutes.
3. Bring water and rice to a boil and then reduce heat; simmer for about 20 minutes, or until thick and sticky. In a large glass bowl combine cooked rice with rice vinegar.
4. Place a sheet of nori on a bamboo mat. Working with wet hands, spread 1/4 of the rice evenly over the nori; leave about 1/2 inch on the top edge of the nori. Place 2 strips of marinated tofu end to end about 1 inch from the bottom. Place 2 strips of cucumber next to the tofu, then avocado and carrot.
5. Roll nori tightly from the bottom, using the mat to help make a tight roll. Seal by moistening with water the 1/2 inch at the top. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Slice with a serrated knife into 1 inch thick slices.



jarhead john said...

My sushi chef here in the Land Of The Rising Sun told me that nori isn't seaweed, it's algae. That clever guy on "Food Finds" had the same thing to say.

Jackie said...

Depends where you look some say seaweed and some say algae.

Both are good for you as I am never without my Spirulina which is also an algae.

funwithyourfood said...

When I visit Little Saigon, I get little packets of Nori that are meant to be munched on like chips. It's great to get the salty craving out of me in a not so unhealthy way


t. said...

Hold on isn't algae just the latin name for seaweed? I was pretty sure it it!

Anyhow, you really stirred my interest talking about this Welsh dish with oatmeal, nori and orange juice! I have to get myself to Wales soon to try it!

Jackie said...

My Father was Welsh and always talked about laver cakes served with breakfast when he was young but I never got served them on my numerous visits there.

Algae definition is (I decided to look it up :)
Algae range from single-celled organisms to multi-cellular organisms, some with fairly complex differentiated form and (if marine) called seaweeds.

Lou-Lou said...

If Nori has 10 times more iron and calcium by weight than milk...

That means 10 g of milk have the same amount of iron and calcium as 1 g of Nori....

So 1 cup of milk (200 g) has 20 times more iron and calcium than 1 g of Nori...

1 full dried sheet has about 2 g and it makes about 6 california sushi rolls. So we can infer that each sushi roll (containing 0.3 g of Nori) has more than 60 (sixty) times less iron and calcium than 1 cup of milk...

The average california sushi roll will have about 50 calories. So eating two sushis will provide about the same calories as a cup (200 g) of low fat milk and about 30 times less iron and calcium...

I'm not saying that drinking milk is healthier than eating a sushi, I am just looking at the nutrient content here.