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Wakame and Nori are two different Japanese condiments that most people use. But are they the same? How are wakame vs Nori different from each other?
Wakame and Nori differ in terms of shape, texture, and uses. Nori is usually flat and looks like dried sheets, while dried wakame often comes in the form of strips that are a bit wrinkled, looking somewhat like raisins from the sea.
Wakame is a major type of edible seaweed. This vegetable from the sea is mainly used in Asian dishes and is served in soups and salads or as a side dish to seafood.
You probably know Nori through sushi rolls or raw fish on sushi rice, but there are several other uses for it. One of such is, it’s a convenient way to transport your tasty fillings.
What is Wakame?
Wakame is a slightly sweet, delicate seaweed; it is often used raw and rehydrated in salads and miso soup.
Because of its smooth surface and texture, it is essential to pair it with crunchy ingredients, like the pink shrimp or cucumbers, whenever you make the Japanese sunomono salad, so you’ll have a balance.
It grows wild in Australian waters, and it is mostly farmed in Japan and Korea. Any wakame you find at the store comes from either one of these two countries. Let us discuss them individually and identify their properties and uses.
What is Wakame Used For?
Wakame always needs to be given a new structure before you can use it. To do that is relatively easy.
Place the dried seaweed in a bowl and pour in warm water; make sure the water covers it all, then leave it for a few minutes. It most likely will start to expand in size, so you might not need to put in too much.
Once it has expanded, you’ll know it is ready for use.
As soon as you get it adequately hydrated and drained of the water, you can add it to your salads and soups. You can equally have it chopped, seasoned, and served independently as a salad.
The famous miso soup is often embellished with diced tofu, minced scallions, and tiny, minute pieces of green seaweed. That seaweed is the wakame.
What is Nori?
Nori is another kind of seaweed; it is crisp, relatively mild, slightly salty, with flavor notes that suggest it has been roasted or smoked.
You’ll find good quality nori to be smooth and uniform in its texture, with a dark-green color.
NOTE! Do not buy or use Nori that is flecked, crumbling, pale green in color, or reddish. It is most likely a bad one.
You can store it in an airtight material, and if you know you won’t get to use it in a few weeks, you can double-bag it and pop it into your freezer. While it is in there, it can maintain its freshness for up to six months.
Then again, if you want the best textural quality possible, you can pass it over an open flame in a fast manner to get it re-crisped and refreshed just before you use it.
What is Nori Used For?
There are a couple of dishes that Nori gives an excellent flavor to. An example is homemade Sushi; when added, Nori gives it a distinct flavor that makes it stand out in the taste. Other examples are:
- Crispy Nori Snacks: You can make those sheets of Nori just a little crisper, and you will have yourself some nori chips! The seaweed can be made into crispy chips that taste excellent.
- Furikake Seasoning: This blend of nori and sesame seeds will make a simple rice dish taste like it was made in a restaurant kitchen. But on the contrary, it is quite easy for you to make yourself in your kitchen.
- Soup and Rice Bowl Topper: You can decide to give a little extra crunch to the next soup you make or rice you cook. Shred the Nori into tiny ribbons and sprinkle it on your dish. You can also use it over your omelets, baked fish, salads, steamed vegetables, in fact, anywhere where you might like to taste the Nori’s crisp texture.
Difference Between Wakame Vs Nori
Wakame and Nori are entirely two different condiments. In fact, an attempt at comparison would be futile.
Like I stated earlier, Nori is the dried seaweed used in making Sushi. It comes in flat, dried sheets, while dried wakame, on the other hand, usually comes in the form of strips that look a little withered; they look like raisins from the sea.
You’ll have to soak the dried wakame before you can use it; Nori, on the other hand, is toasted before the sushi rolls or onigiri are assembled together.
In other words, wakame is meant to be reconstituted in water, while Nori is intended to be eaten either quickly wetted or totally dry.
Unlike wakame, Nori melts in your mouth, and this is because the aggregate of soft fibers is usually made into one sheet.
Nori used for Sushi are usually not seasoned, so you can enjoy that original seaweed scent. On the contrary, you can easily match seasoned Nori with different dishes, and it has a sweet and sour taste.
Nori upgrades any type of dish since it also contains an umami taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the substitute for Wakame?
Wakame is similar in texture and taste to another seaweed called Alaria. It will make a great substitute if the wakame is unavailable for you. Alaria is a bit tougher, though.
What is the difference between Nori and seaweed?
Seaweed is any of the numerous marine plants and algae found under the sea, such as kelp, while Nori is a type of seaweed that is chopped and formed into sheets and used in the preparation of Sushi.
Can you eat Wakame raw?
Yes, wakame can be eaten raw. It is commonly eaten raw in salads or cooked in soups.
Is Wakame vegan?
Yes, wakame is vegan-friendly! As a type of seaweed, wakame is 100% plant-based and, therefore, suitable for anyone on a plant-based diet.
Is seaweed alive?
Not really. When they are harvested, they are prone to get bad or spoilt. So, seaweed needs to stay hydrated to survive.
Japanese dishes are loved by many people! Talk of sushi, miso soup, Kare raisu, and others have all caused raves from many who have tasted them.
This is why, although seaweed is a major culinary staple in Eastern and Celtic cuisines, it is becoming popular in modern kitchens worldwide as a sustainable, nourishing food. And the demand for it is ever increasing.
Seaweed is basically a plant that grows underwater. Some are harvested and sold fresh from the sea, but most, like the wakame vs Nori, even the kepu are dried.
The fact that they are packed full of nutrients such as vitamins A, B, E, and K, iodine, and folate make them indispensable in your diet. These seaweeds contain a high percentage of glutamic acids, which gives them the sense of deliciousness the Japanese call “umami.”