One afternoon a while back, craving a crunchy snack, I discovered a packet of nori sheets in the pantry, skillet-toasted them, and voila – a bowlful of satisfyingly crisp chips! They hit the spot. Then more recently I picked up a packet of Annie Chun’s wasabi seaweed snacks at Health Nuts on Broadway and, after eating its entire contents in about 5 minutes flat (they go down like wasabi-kissed air!) decided to go back to the drawing board to perfect a spicy, oven-crisped variety of my own.
With the nori chip-making methods of Mark Bittman and The Kitchn’s Emma Christensen as guides, I set about making a batch of spicy, double-layered nori chips, with a wasabi-water mixture functioning as the “glue” between the layers and a sprinkling of sea salt and sesame seeds inside. Oven-baked at a low heat and cooled for about 5 minutes, they crisped up to a lovely, shattering crunch. For extra heat (baking mellows the wasabi quite a bit), I lightly brushed them with hot sesame oil. Freakishly good. I dare say they are superior to the Annie Chun seaweed chips – thicker, with a more satisfying crunch and more complex flavor.
I also should add that, while I have a serious weakness for the crunch of Kettle potato chips (especially the jalapeno variety – oh, my), I envision these nori chips taking their place in my snacking repertoire. The nori chips have the added benefit of being nearly fat-free, save the small amounts contributed by the sesame seeds and hot sesame oil. Plus you’re getting the myriad health benefits of sea vegetables in every bite! So you can crunch all you like. (If you’re interested, here is a great run-down of the health benefits of sea vegetables. Stock up!)
Even if you’re not a big fan of the oceany taste of nori, or of sea vegetables in general, I encourage you to give these chips a try. The flavor of the nori mellows nicely in the oven and contributes more of a back-up note to the assertiveness of the wasabi and hot sesame oil.
spicy oven-toasted nori chips
You might want to make a double batch – these go down easy. As in, I ate the whole batch by myself.
Makes about 30 chips
1 tsp wasabi powder
3 Tbsp water
5 sheets of nori
1/2 tsp sea salt, or as needed
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, or as needed
2 Tbsp hot sesame oil, or as needed
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Whisk together the wasabi powder and water in a small bowl. With a pastry brush, lightly brush a sheet of nori with the wasabi mixture, then sprinkle with sea salt and sesame seeds.
Fold the nori sheet in half, and press to adhere the two sides (they won’t completely stick together, but it’s okay – everything will come together in the oven). Cut into 1-inch strips (perpendicular to the fold) and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining nori sheets.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the chips are shriveled and crisp. Cool for about 5 minutes, brush lightly with hot sesame oil, and crunch away!