Seaweed and I weren’t always the best of friends.
We were introduced to each other in the spring of my 18th year; my best friend took me out for a birthday celebration and introduced me to the world of sushi.
Suffice it to say that my palette only agreed with one dish: the blushing pink ginger slices that cleansed one’s mouth after consuming sashimi or raw fish.
You may think the raw fish would have stood out more; but what caught my eye were the dark green wrapped rice rolls, filled w/ a variety of fillings (spicy tuna, eel, imitation crab). Though it smelled like the ocean, the taste and texture was something I had never encountered before. It’s taste was on the bland spectrum while it was both crispy and chewy.
Thus began my love of sushi rolls; mainly for their delicious fillings. Yet, my full blown appreciation for nori only began when I was addicted enough to actually try out a recipe.
Of course, this meant an excursion to an Asian foods specialty grocery which is an experience I would recommend to everyone willing to try new adventures in the world of food and cuisine.
The take-away message from that trip was that there was a boat-load of seaweed out there. Each type is meant for inclusion in different recipes: roasted seaweed for onigiri (rice balls w/ filling wrapped in a piece of seaweed) and sushi rolls; kombu for traditional seaweed soups; and hijiki for inclusion in salads and soups; plus many more types.
As I immersed my not-quite-so-nimble hands into the cooking process; I learned about the nutrititional benefits of seaweed. Widely used in Japanese, Korean and most Asian cuisine; this edible algae is a nutritional storehouse of folic acid, iodine, iron, calcium, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. It helps supports our thyroid and adrenal glands, combating fatigue and stress.
It also contains lignans, chemical compounds that inhibit the blood cell growth which would cause tumors to grow.
The abundance of beneficial vitamins and minerals in seaweed was all I needed to know. I am throughly addicted to seaweed. Now I make sure to eat some everyday; in some shape or form.