Long gone are the 1970s, when the first sushi restaurant in the US was opened in Hollywood, catering to only the elite. Nowadays, sushi restaurants are as typical as any other and a much-loved cuisine enjoyed globally. You can even take sushi lessons or teach yourself how to make sushi at home. The quality of your sushi won’t just be in the proteins, rice, or vegetables you use, but also in the type of nori.
Nori (also called laver) is Japanese seaweed from the Porphyra genus. It’s typically used for sushi, with Yaki and Kansou being the most common. The best type of nori for sushi depends on the color grading of the nori, with gold being the best and green being the lowest quality.
It can be overwhelming to choose between so many wide varieties of nori. Still, it is vital to research where it comes from, what type is more pliable, what the size options are, and what quality is suitable for your intended use.
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Five Types Of Nori
Nori is the Japanese name for a type of red algae (genus Porphyra) that grows wild, like other sea vegetables. This seaweed grows mainly off the rocks along the coastal shorelines in the Pacific Ocean, North Atlantic, and the Irish Sea.
Kansou nori is dried nori. It is produced as thin rectangular sheets made from dried Nama nori (raw, unprocessed, wet nori). Kansou nori can be eaten on its own but is ideal for sushi because of its malleability.
Yaki nori is toasted seaweed, Japan’s supermarkets’ most common type of seafood. Yaki nori is convenient and used in many dishes, including sushi, ramen, tempura, salad, and mochi. Although popular, many believe it to be inferior to Kansou nori.
Ajitsuke nori is dried nori sheets that are seasoned. These nori sheets are typically more miniature and enjoyed as a snack but are not used in sushi.
Kizami nori is dried unseasoned shredded nori. It is typically used as a garnish with rice bowls and noodles. Although you don’t use it to make sushi, it is often seen sprinkled on chirashi sushi.
Nama nori is raw, unprocessed seaweed. This wet ingredient is used as a garnish on oysters or in soups.
The Best Types Of Nori Used In Sushi
Kansou nori and Yaki nori are the best types to use in sushi. Other nori (e.g., Ajitsuke, Kizami, or Nama) are instead eaten as a snack or used in Japanese cuisine as a garnish.
Dried nori is manufactured and distributed as either sushi nori or temaki nori. Sushi nori is full or half sheets of dried nori used for large sushi rolls.
Temaki nori sheets are cut to a smaller size to make temaki (handrolls) and hosomaki (single sushi items). Besides sheets, nori can also be bought as dried pieces or flakes, typically used as a garnish.
Besides the type of nori, you also must consider the four quality grades assigned to each, with an A-grade or gold being the best.
Best Quality Nori For Making Sushi
There exist various categories according to which nori can be graded. The seven most common criteria for you to know are:
- Texture: One side of nori should be smooth and glossy, and the other side rough and textured.
- Color: The best nori has a dark, rich green color rather than light and brown.
- Gloss: Higher-quality nori is glossier than its lower-quality counterparts.
- Thickness: Higher-quality nori is thicker than its lower-quality counterparts.
- Smell: Good-quality nori should have a salty sea smell, not fishy.
- ‘Hagire’: When biting into nori, it should be crisp and initially tear and crumble like paper.
- ‘Kuchidoke’: Once it touches your tongue, nori should start melting away almost immediately. Lower-quality nori will be chewy.
A-Grade (Gold) Nori
If you are looking to buy nori for making sushi and want the best quality, look for the gold-grade seaweed sheets. Many of the top-quality sushi restaurants use gold-grade nori sheets.
Manufacturers typically add a gold color to their packaging to clearly show the grading. If not, look for the Japanese word for gold on the labels, i.e., ‘kin’ (pronounced keen).
These gold-graded nori sheets are best used for premium quality sushi horns and rolls and will be:
- Very dark green
- Highly glossy
- Uniform in thickness
- Free from dead spots
- Free from any impurities
B-Grade (Silver) Nori
The second-best grade nori, i.e., silver, is also exceptional. Look for a silver label or color code on the nori packaging or see if you can spot the Japanese word for silver, which is ‘gin.’
This silver-grade nori is also suitable for high-quality sushi rolls, with minor differences compared to the gold-grade. The characteristics of silver nori include:
- Deep green color
- Glossy appearance
- Uniform in thickness
- Free from dead spots
C-Grade (Blue) Nori
Blue-grade nori is a safe option if you’re making sushi at home and are not particularly concerned about getting the highest quality. It is a good grade for its price tag and will satisfy in taste.
Like gold and silver, the manufacturer generally colors their packaging with its graded color, so you will know what you are buying. You can use blue-grade nori for sushi, but it is more suitable for serving in salads or as a garnish.
The most common features of blue-grade nori:
- Green color
- Occasional dead spots are visible
- It might contain chlorella and diatom
D-Grade (Green) Nori
D-grade or green-grade nori is the lowest quality. This type of nori is better suited in salads and as a garnish rather than featured in sushi.
Even if you tried, this grade of nori is firm, so it will crack when rolled. The products appear in green packaging in grocery- and specialty stores and are much cheaper than the other higher-grade nori. Some characteristics of green-grade nori to note:
- Yellow-green color
- Dimmed appearance
- Some damage to the sheets
- Occasional dead spots are visible
- It might contain chlorella and diatom
Best Brands Of Sushi Nori
Many sushi die hearts believe that the best nori comes from Japan. When you are out shopping, ensure thus to inspect the packaging to confirm whether the product was manufactured in Japan. If you can’t find it in your local supermarkets or online, don’t worry. Other countries, like South Korea and China, also make versions of nori, some of which are pretty decent.
Some of the most reputable nori brands to look out for include:
- Daechun Sushi Nori produces the best sushi nori overall. Their gold-grade nori has a natural umami flavor yet is relatively affordable.
- Hime Seaweed offers the best kind of nori when you’re on a budget. They produce unsalted versions, yet it is tasty enough to eat on their own and inexpensive.
- One Organic Premium Roasted Organic Seaweed produces the best organic nori. Their products are certified USDA-approved, contain only ten calories per sheet, and are affordable.
- Nagai Deluxe Sushi Nori offers the best deluxe sushi nori. Their products have no added salt or sugar yet have a great taste and are very pliable, so you don’t have to worry about breaking when rolling.
- Earth Circle Organic produces raw nori sheets grown in certified organic rising waters in the Sea of Japan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Nori Is Best For Sushi?
To choose the best nori for sushi, you must consider the type and grade of nori. Firstly, Kansou nori and Yaki nori are the most common nori used for sushi. The nori is unseasoned, pliable, and comes in various sheet sizes tailored for making sushi items, like handrolls and single items.
Secondly, you must consider the grading. Grade A or gold nori is the best nori that will give you top-quality sushi. So for the best sushi nori, you will need to buy Kansou or Yaki Nori Gold.
How Do You Pick Nori For Sushi?
Most products will clearly state which type of nori it contains, e.g., Kansou or Yaki nori. If not, some packaging states ‘sushi nori’ to make it easy to distinguish it from flavored nori (e.g., Ajitsuke nori) eaten on its own as a snack.
The next step is considering your budget and quality preferences and choosing a grade accordingly. For better quality sushi, choose silver or gold grade. If the packaging doesn’t show the color code, look for glossy seaweed sheets with a deep, dark green color.
What Type Of Nori Is Used In Sushi?
Unseasoned Kansou nori and Yaki nori, often labeled as ‘sushi nori,’ is the best type to use for sushi. The size of the sheets will depend on what kind of sushi you intend to prepare.
Choose sushi nori (full or half sheets) if you want to make large sushi rolls and then cut them into pieces after. Or opt for temaki nori sheets, which are cut to a smaller size, to make temaki (handrolls) and hosomaki (single sushi items).
Does All Nori Taste The Same?
No, not all nori tastes the same. Firstly, some nori is unflavored (sushi nori). In contrast, others are seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, salt, and spices (e.g., curry powder). The latter nori is typically eaten on its own. High-quality sushi nori, like gold and silver grades, is unseasoned. Yet they have a much stronger umami taste than the lower quality, unflavored, relatively tasteless varieties.
For the novice sushi chef going shopping, remember to look for products that are, ideally, from Japan. Then inspect the labels to see which types are ‘sushi nori’ and give you a color or letter indicating their grade quality.
What type of nori is best for sushi?
The best type of nori for sushi depends on your preference. You can either choose a lightly roasted nori sheet, which will have a chewier and softer texture, or opt for a twice-roasted nori sheet, which will be crispy and ideal for rolling sushi.
How do you make nori not chewy for sushi?
To make nori less chewy for sushi, you can achieve this by warming a frying pan over low heat and then placing a sheet of nori on the hot surface for a brief period using tongs. As the nori dries, it will start to contract slightly. Flip it over and toast for a few more seconds on the other side.
What is the difference between Japanese and Korean nori?
The difference between Japanese and Korean nori is that Korean nori, also known as Gim, is seasoned with sesame oil and salt, giving it a unique appearance. Unlike Japanese nori, which is even in thickness and has no holes, Korean nori has holes that can be easily distinguished by sight. Similar to Japanese nori, Korean nori is commonly used with rice.
Which side of nori is shiny or matte?
The shiny side of nori is the side that should be placed facing down on the sushi mat when preparing sushi. It is a general rule to always have the shiny side of the nori seaweed on the outside of the sushi.
Does all nori taste the same?
All nori does not taste the same. Nori, which is commonly associated with sushi, has a salty and slightly grassy flavor that makes it enjoyable as a standalone snack. It has been a part of Japanese cuisine for many centuries. The taste of nori can vary depending on the type of seaweed used and the processing methods employed, resulting in a wide range of colors and flavors.
What are the different types of nori for sushi?
The different types of nori for sushi include black laver, green laver, kelp, and wakame seaweed, which fall under the categories of red algae, green algae, and brown algae, respectively.
Do you use a full sheet of nori for sushi?
The answer to the question “Do you use a full sheet of nori for sushi?” is that you have the option to either use a whole sheet of nori to make one large roll or cut the sheets in half to create two smaller or standard-size rolls. Making bigger rolls can be more convenient for beginners as it allows for faster progress, while half sheets are ideal for those who prefer bite-sized pieces of sushi.
What size should nori be for sushi?
The size of nori for sushi depends on the amount of filling. For a single ingredient sushi roll, like a cucumber roll, a half sheet of nori measuring approximately 4 x 7-1/2 inches is needed. The nori should be placed lengthwise, with the shiny side facing down, on a bamboo rolling mat. Additionally, crumbled nori can be used as an appealing garnish for salads or rice.
Is nori the same as sushi Nori?
Nori is not the same as sushi Nori. Nori refers to dried edible seaweed, commonly found in thin, paper-like sheets, and is widely used in Japanese and Korean cuisine for wrapping sushi rolls or onigiri.
Is nori soaked in sushi?
Nori is used in sushi as it is made up of small sheets packaged in a plastic film, which are used for wrapping sushi rolls and onigiri. It can be purchased in a toasted or raw form, with toasted nori being more commonly used as it is already dried and ready to use. Prior to cooking, nori can be prepared by soaking it in water for approximately 20 minutes.
Are nori sheets the same as seaweed?
Nori sheets are not the same as seaweed. Nori, derived from pyropia, a type of red algae, is the most well-known edible seaweed in the US. While seaweed encompasses various types used in Japanese cuisine, nori stands out as the dark green variety, distinct from its red counterparts.
Are nori sheets healthy?
Nori sheets are healthy as they are packed with nutrients and beneficial compounds. They provide a good amount of protein, fiber, vitamins (such as B9, C, A, and B3), and minerals (including sodium, iodine, potassium, and iron).
How do I choose nori?
To choose nori, look for higher grades that have a jet black hue, with colors becoming lighter as you go down the grades (from jet black to black to dark green to green). Additionally, better quality nori can be identified by its sheen. As the nori grades decrease, you may find that the nori sheets are slightly thinner and may contain another type of seaweed.
What is the difference between Japanese nori and Korean nori?
The difference between Japanese nori and Korean nori lies in their seasoning and appearance. Korean nori, also known as Gim, is seasoned with sesame oil and salt, giving it a distinct flavor. Unlike Japanese nori, which is even in thickness and has no holes, Korean nori has holes that can be easily recognized by sight. Both types of nori are commonly used with rice.
What is the best Japanese seaweed?
The best Japanese seaweed is Nori, which is paper-thin and dark green in color. Nori is consumed the most among all Japanese seaweeds worldwide. It is commonly used in sushi as an ingredient and as a garnish for ramen noodles and rice bowls. Nori is made by drying marine algae and pressing it into a thin layer.
Which side of nori is shiny sushi rice?
The shiny side of nori is the side of the nori sheet that should face down when placing it on top of a bamboo mat.
Can I feed my fish nori from the grocery store?
You can feed your fish nori from the grocery store. It is completely safe to use nori from the ethnic aisle of the grocery store, as long as it is pure dried seaweed. I have been using it for many years without any issues.
Are seaweed sheets and nori the same?
Seaweed sheets and nori are not the same. Most edible varieties of seaweed are available in dried form, although some can be found fresh and raw depending on the type and season. Nori sheets, on the other hand, are made by washing nori in fresh water, mincing it, and then pressing it into sheets which are mechanically dried.
Is sushi nori and seaweed the same?
Sushi nori and seaweed are not the same. Nori, which is derived from pyropia, a type of red algae, is the most well-known seaweed in the US. When people think of edible seaweed, nori is often the first variety that comes to mind. However, despite being derived from red algae, nori itself is actually dark green in color.
How do you pick nori for sushi?
When picking nori for sushi, the ideal nori sheet would be jet black and have a shiny sheen. It should also have a uniform thickness across the entire surface and minimal to no holes. A good quality nori will have a subtle umami flavor, which is a natural sweetness that is enjoyed, without any strange or fishy smell.
Why is my nori so chewy?
Your nori may be chewy due to the presence of air and moisture. To prevent this, ensure that your hands and countertops are dry before handling nori. Additionally, using a bamboo rolling mat can help absorb moisture. Lastly, it is important to roll and eat the sushi promptly to maintain the desired texture.
What is the difference between Japanese nori and Korean nori?
The difference between Japanese nori and Korean nori lies in their seasoning and appearance. Korean nori, also known as Gim, is seasoned with sesame oil and salt, giving it a distinct flavor. In terms of appearance, Japanese nori is uniformly thick and hole-free, while Korean nori has holes, making it easily distinguishable. Both types of nori are commonly used with rice in their respective cuisines.
What is the best Korean seaweed for sushi?
The best Korean seaweed for sushi is Daechun’s gold grade roasted seaweed. This product is ideal for making sushi and enjoying as a snack, and it is conveniently packaged in a resealable container. Daechun’s roasted seaweed, which is produced in Korea, is of exceptional quality and provides a rich source of iodine and other vital vitamins and minerals.
Is Korean seaweed the same as nori?
Korean seaweed is known as Kim or Gim 김 and is commonly used in Japanese sushi or onigiri. In Japan, it is referred to as nori (海苔).
What Japanese seaweed is used in sushi?
The Japanese seaweed used in sushi is called Nori. It is a dried edible seaweed that is made from different species of the red algae genus Pyropia, such as P. yezoensis and P. tenera. Nori has a distinct and robust flavor, and it is commonly utilized to wrap sushi rolls or onigiri (rice balls).
Which Korean seaweed is best?
The best Korean seaweed can be determined by considering various factors. Daechungim, with over 40 years of experience, is one of the oldest and most popular laver brands in Korea. Hyundaekim is renowned for its exquisite flavor. Dongwon F&B is another notable brand to consider. Kwangcheongim and Seongyeong Gim are also worth mentioning when discussing the top Korean seaweed options.
What is the best brand of seaweed?
The best brand of seaweed is gimMe Organic Roasted Seaweed Sheets, followed by Kimnori Organic Seasoned Roasted Seaweed Snacks, Jayone Seaweed, Roasted and Lightly Salted, Annie Chun’s Organic Seaweed, Choi’s 1 Daechun Seaweed Snacks, Seaweed Love All Natural Roasted Seaweed, and SeaSnax Organic Roasted Seaweed Snacks.
What dried seaweed do you use to make sushi?
The dried seaweed used to make sushi is called nori, which is made from a sea vegetable known as laver in English. Nori is not only essential for making sushi, but it can also be used as a topping on salads or in soup noodles to enhance the flavor and texture, thanks to its crisp, savory, and rich umami taste.
What is the most delicious seaweed?
The most delicious seaweed is Kelp, Welsh Laverbread from Wales, Nama from Fiji, Dulse from Northern Ireland, Karengo from New Zealand, Hijiki from Japan, Wakame from Japan, Kombu from Japan, and Nori from Japan.
Is kimbap seaweed the same as sushi seaweed?
Kimbap seaweed and sushi seaweed are not the same. However, both kimbap and sushi use nori sheets to wrap up the rice and fillings. The seaweed on kimbap is often brushed with sesame oil, while sushi seaweed is kept plain. Additionally, both kimbap and sushi use cooked short-grain rice and are rolled using a bamboo mat. Furthermore, both dishes offer a wide range of variations to choose from.
What kind of seaweed is used in Maki?
The seaweed used in Maki is called nori. Nori-maki is a convenient and easily consumed sushi roll that consists of rice and various fillings tightly wrapped in a sheet of roasted nori seaweed. There are two main types of nori-maki: hoso-maki, which are thin rolls with a single filling, and futo-maki, which are thicker rolls with multiple fillings.
What is the traditional seaweed in Korea?
The traditional seaweed in Korea is known as gim, which has been cherished by Koreans as a popular side dish for a long time. Over the years, gim has undergone transformations and is currently playing a leading role in the Hallyu wave when it comes to food.