What is it?
An edible, paper-like wrapping made of seaweed that has been used to make sushi rolls for at least 1,300 years. Also called laver, nori is created by washing and chopping fresh seaweed to create a thin sludge, which is then spread thinly onto bamboo mats and dried before being cut into sheets. Laver has been eaten for centuries in Wales, but that version is more of a boiled sludge mixed with oatmeal and made into laverbread patties.
Nori comes in a variety of colours -- reddish to brown to the more familiar dark green -- depending on type of seaweed used and how it was treated. Dark purple sheets are especially popular for making sushi because the colour contrasts so well with white sushi rice.
Crisp and savoury, nori has a mild and salty flavour with only a hint of the sea.
The seaweed sheets are most commonly used to wrap sushi rolls, but in Japan, their use extends beyond the sushi bar. There, nori is eaten for breakfast with fish and rice, and as a snack -- dipped in soy sauce and used to wrap balls of rice. More recently in North American, it has been sold as a potato chip-like snack, often seasoned with sea salt, chipotle pepper and other flavourings. Nori is also a nice accompaniment to cheese.
Lucky Supermarket, 1051 Winnipeg Ave.