Umami Grenade – nori paste

Ocean vegetables are the Biggest Thing since Ron Burgundy’s sideburns.

Calling them ocean veg is, of course, diplomatic speak for seaweed. We Irish seem to think seaweed is only useful for deflecting annoying children on the beach. In fact, seaweed is full of anti-aging love bombs and disease-fighting lignans. But you already knew that, right?

So why don’t you eat more of it? I understand. It’s hard to get your head around those slimy straps of ominous weed. But I bet you horse into it at your local sushi bar, eh?! Yes – that shiny green wrapper cavorting on your sushi roll is called nori; the most popular form of seaweed in the West.

nori-paste

 

Nori is ace. One serving of this Japanese nori paste will give you just under half the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of iron. No iron, no mojo. Women in particular need more of this blood building mineral. Not saying why.

Both nori, and its brothers and sisters in the ocean veg world, deliver a cargo of calcium for strong bones. Not worried about your bones? You should be, especially if you’re female. One in four Irish women will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. That number jumps to one in every two women, over fifty. it’s a serious problem, one that, admittedly, ocean veg ain’t gonna solve. But think of it as artillery, along with weight bearing exercise like pilates which bones love.

At a recent Irish Osteoporosis Society annual meeting, speakers addressed Ireland’s unique problem. We have one of the highest fracture rates in the world. So eating dairy is definitely not curing the calcium conundrum. Clearly it’s more complex than scarfing into cheese. Our levels of vitamin D are intimately linked to calcium’s absorption, so I vote serving this calcium-rich nori paste with mackerel, high in vitamin D.

 

nori-paste-japanese

Nori Paste

This nori paste is a game changer, and will have your synapses doing somersaults. I now bestow this recipe upon you, with deference to my food crush Katie Sanderson. Hallowed be the paste. I hope it has you frolicking on the dance floor well into your nineties, and lepping after lovers.

 

10 sheets of nori
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or palm sugar
1-2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soya sauce
100ml (3.5 floz) water

 

Using a scissors, roughly chomp the nori sheets into bite sized pieces. Migrate to a saucepan, and add your choice of natural sugar, some brown rice vinegar and the soya sauce. If you are coeliac, you can find wheat-free soya sauce called tamari which will work beautifully. Leave everything to chillax for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, cook on a gentle heat with 100ml (3.5 floz) water. Remove from heat after 10 minutes, or when the nori collapses into a paste. Store in an air tight jar once cooled, and keep for up to 7 days in the fridge. Indecently tasty stuff.

 

 

 

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