(青のり) is an unusual Japanese spice
. The name
means "green nori", nori
in turn being a type of seaweed
spp.) best known as the wrapping of
. However, despite the name and what many Japanese
themselves think, aonori
is in fact a different plant
entirely, namely various species of Enteromorpha
Aonori has a distinctive, strong smell, something between cut grass
and vinegar, and the taste is more of the same, only different
and more seaweed-y.
It is sold in two forms, threadlike ito aonori --
the more common type, to the extent that the "ito" is usually dropped
from the name --
and powdered aonoriko, both made from the dried plant.
Both are used sparingly as a seasoning on ready food, and are (as far as I know)
never cooked with the dish itself.
The two top uses without a doubt for aonori are
yakisoba, Japanese fried noodles, and
okonomiyaki, a delicious
type of Japanese omelette/pancake/pizza/somethingalongthoselines.
Omitting aonori from either one of these will change the taste quite
a bit: alas, sensei's otherwise excellent recipe for okonomiyaki
suggests using basil instead, which entirely fails to taste like aonori.
About the only other aonori-obligatory recipe I can think of is
tororoten, a bizarre (and, frankly, rather bad-tasting) Japanese
dessert of translucent yam noodles with soy and aonori. However,
due to its distinctive dark green color and fresh scent, aonori is not
infrequently found sprinkled atop all sorts of food.
Aonori is also often used in the Japanese
spice blend shichimi-togarashi.
Last but definitely not least, aonori has found an unlikely new use
in a marriage with Western cuisine: aonori potato chips! These are
downright addictive, and exploitation of the synergy between aonori
and deep-fried potato soon led to the invention of
aonori french fries, now available even at McDonalds
(in Japan, that is).