This snack has everything going for it: easy to make, good for you, addictively crunchy, and totally crave-inducing. Need we say more?
Inspiration for this recipe comes from Mark Bittman, who wrote about making nori chips in his Minimalist column a few weeks back. We also have to give some credit to Annie Chun's, the company we can thank for bringing Thai ingredients into mainstream markets. We recently sampled their new "Seaweed Snacks" product (a.k.a. Nori Chips), and that was the final push to get us to make our own.
To summarize Bittman's article, toasted nori is awesome. Nori is (are?) those big sheets of pressed seaweed used to wrap sushi. Already pretty crispy to start, they get even crunchier after a few minutes in a low oven. Bittman recommends brushing a piece with water and folding it in half for extra sturdiness.
For our version, we mix a generous amount of wasabi powder with the water and brush this mixture on both the inside and the top of the folded nori. We tried several versions before landing on this method, including brushing the chips with wasabi-infused oil after baking, and we think this gives the best balance of fresh wasabi flavor and seaweedy goodness. The sinus-clearing heat of the wasabi diminishes in the heat of the oven (we'd love to know Annie Chun's secret), but the essence definitely comes through.
Wasabi-Toasted Nori Crisps
Makes about 60 crisps
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons powdered horseradish wasabi
10 sheets nori
Heat oven to 250°F.
Combine the water and the wasabi in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until the wasabi is dissolved. The wasabi tends to settle to the bottom, so you may need to re-whisk between batches.
Take one sheet of nori and fold it in half. Unfold it and lightly paint half the sheet with the wasabi water using a pastry brush. Sprinkle the inside with salt and press it closed. Lightly brush the top with wasabi water, as well (but do not salt). Using a sharp knife, cut the nori into six strips and transfer them to a baking sheet.
Repeat this process with each sheet of nori until you have filled the baking sheet. Strips can be close to each other, but should be in a single layer without touching. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until darkened, dry to the touch, and brittle. Transfer the nori crisps to a cooling rack to finish crisping. Repeat with any remaining sheets of nori.
You might not believe us now, but it's incredibly easy to eat this entire batch in a single sitting, with or without help! If you do happen to have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container. They will stale a bit with time, but should still stay crispy for a few days.
(Images: Emma Christensen)