Wakame and nori are both types of edible seaweed. Both are used in many types of cuisine around the world, however they are the most common in Japanese and Korean cuisine.
Wakame and Nori are actually quite different although they are both types of seaweed. The word Nori means dried edible seaweed and is a species of seaweed that comes from dried red algae. Nori comes in paper thin sheets and it is often used to make sushi wraps. Wakame is a species of kelp that is found in the Northwest Pacific oceans. Wakame can be bought and sold in both dried and fresh forms, however it is usually sold in its dried form.
Wakame is a highly nutritious sea vegetable. It is most often used in soups or as salads and goes as a wonderful side dish to many seafoods. Although it is farmed in Japan and Korea, it can be found in the wild around the Australian waters. Unlike the sheets that Nori is sold in, wakame is sold in dried pieces resembling sea raisins (unless you buy fresh). Wakame must be soaked before it is eaten, then it can be dressed with oils, dressings, or spices to your liking. Fresh wakame is a golden broken color, but when blanched, it turns a bright green. It is considered green seaweed.
Here are some popular recipe ideas using wakame.
- Seaweed Salad
- There are many variations on this seaweed salad. It can be eaten with just wakame and a sesame oil based dressing with soy sauce. You can also add cucumbers, other vegetables, a protein etc.
- Miso Soup
- Wakame can be added to miso soup for some extra added flavor and textures
- Asian Vegetable Saute
- Add wakame to a vegetable saute!
Nori is found on mollusk shells as red algae all over the world in cold waters, though it is farmed in Japan and Korea. Nori is sold in small or large sheets that have been dried or toasted. When nori is toasted, it is flavored with soy sauce and dipped in sesame seeds. You probably know nori as the seaweed wraps around sushi, though it can be broken up and sprinkled on salads, in soups, noodle dishes, or eaten with rice. It can also just be eaten plain and is a delicious salty snack. Nori can be found in both the colors red or green.
Below there are some popular nori dishes listed.
- Obviously the most popular way to use nori is as seaweed wraps. There are a huge number of sushi variations, including the popular rice balls which are essentially just balls of rice wrapped in a piece of nori. Each variation of sushi has its own flavor and flare.
- Nori Soup
- Nori soup is another popular use of nori. It involves a chicken or beef broth base with ground pork, vegetables, and egg and broken nori bits.
- Nori Dressing
- Nori can be broken up into very small pieces and can be added to a sesame based dressing for a delicious result.
- Lots of authentic ramen dishes will add broken nori bits to the top of the noodles for added flavor.
- Eat Plain
- A great way to eat nori is to just munch on the sheets themselves! They are an easy and nutritious snack.
Although nori and wakame are both versions of seaweed, they have some key differences. Let’s take a look.
- Different types of seaweed (wakame is a kelp, nori is a red algae)
- Eaten differently (wakame must be soaked and isn’t eaten dried, nori is only eaten in it’s dried or toasted form)
- Used for different things (wakame is more popular for seaweed salad, while nori is more popular for sushi)
- Sold differently (wakame is sold in dried pieces and can also be sold fresh, nori is only sold in different sized sheets)
Both types of seaweed taste similar and have similar nutritious value however they are used for different things and cured in a different way. Wakame or nori are a delicious seaweed to add to your next dressing or soup!