4 Reasons to Keep Nori in the Pantry

Ingredient Spotlight

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You probably know nori best as the paper-like dark green wrapping that keeps pieces of sushi neatly -- and deliciously! -- contained. Crisp sheets of this mild grassy-tasting seaweed last forever in the pantry and can come in handy when you just need "a little something extra" to perk up a weeknight meal. 

Nori is made by shredding edible seaweed and then pressing it into thin sheets -- much like the process for making paper. You can find packages of it at any Asian grocery store, Whole Foods, and more and more frequently these days, regular grocery stores. Nori that is sold as "plain" or "toasted" is the most versatile sort for our cooking purposes.

Packaged in an airtight container or zip-top bags, nori will keep for quite some time in the pantry. If they start to lose their crispness, you can re-toast them (carefully!) over the flame on a gas stove.

Once you've gotten your hands on some nori, here are our favorite ways to use nori in the kitchen:

  1. Homemade Sushi: Yes! Go for it! Sushi is actually very easy to make at home, as this guide showing How to Make Maki Sushi will show you. Korean gimbap is great for a non-fishy version. And if you're not up for all the rolling, making hand rolls is an even easier way to get your sushi fix.
  2. Crispy Nori Snacks: Crisp those sheets of nori a little more, and by golly, you have yourself some nori chips! We like to lacquer a few sheets of nori together for a sturdier crisp, as with these Wasabi-Toasted Nori Crisps.
  3. Furikake Seasoning: This blend of nori and sesame seeds makes a simple rice dish taste like it came straight from a restaurant kitchen. It's easy to make yourself at home.
  4. Soup and Rice Bowl Topper: Add a little extra crunch to your next bowl of soup or rice. Slice nori into thin ribbons and sprinkle away. Also try using it over omelets, baked fish, salads, steamed vegetables, and anywhere where you might like nori's crisp texture.

What other ways do you like to use nori?

Related: The Essential Sushi Guide

(Image: jreika/Shutterstock)