The other day I was rummaging through my kitchen cabinet and found stacks of nori (so that’s where they were!). My dad had sent them to me from Portland, the way American parents might send homemade cookies or granola bars in a care package. Nori, or gim in Korean, is a kind of dried seaweed. It’s most often seen in sushi, but in Korean home cooking, you toast it with sesame seed oil and salt, which is then served with rice–you use chopsticks to wrap the gim around the rice, as you eat (sounds complicated, but it’s really easy). Lately I’ve also seen these sold as “snacks” at Whole Foods and other natural markets, though I think it’s still much better eaten with rice.
Everyone in Korea and Japan eats nori/gim almost everyday, but at the same time, it’s a pretty precious thing. With less-than-fresh nori, you make a quick salad seasoned simply with vinegar and salt. I made my own version for a healthy, detoxifying dinner last night. Nori is a nutritional powerhouse: just one sheet of nori has more Omega-3 than two avocados. It’s very low in calories (one sheet ~ 5 calories), while super high in protein–40% of nori (by weight) is protein! It’s also packed with iodine, an essential mineral that regulates proper thyroid function. Because I rarely use iodized table salt, and other common sources are not vegan, ensuring I get some sea vegetables once in a while keeps my thyroid healthy and balanced. Finally, nori also contains tons of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, riboflavin, and magnesium. I don’t know if it’s because I know all these facts, but whenever I eat this refreshing health salad I feel trimmer and more energetic. 🙂
Detoxifying Nori Salad
3-4 servings as appetizer
About 3 oz dried nori sheets (~85g) (*not* toasted and salted- plain ones used for sushi)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced very fine
1-2 stalks green onion, trimmed and chopped
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp sesame seed oil
1/2 tsp gochugaru (Korean dried pepper flakes)
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 avocado, sliced thin
1. Using scissors or your hands, cut or shred the nori sheets into thin strips. Make sure that you separate the strips so that they don’t stick together when wet. Put the strips into a colander and run in under water until supple, about 30 seconds. Squeeze out all the water, and set aside.
2. In a big bowl, add the chopped garlic, green onions, vinegar, soy sauce, gochugaru, and oil, and combine. Add the nori and combine well, making sure to separate the nori strips and preventing them from clumping.
3. Add sea salt to taste. Garnish with avocado, carrots, and gomashio. Bon appetit!
Also in Salads: Steamed Asparagus Spring Salad
North African Spicy Rice Salad
Detox: Earth and Sea Buddha Bowl
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling