I love the brittle, light as a feather crispness of Chinese seaweed. I think I love the mouthfeel almost more than the flavour. I know it's pretty popular amongst you too. But did you know, the takeout version is none to good for you? It's deep fried and is often sprinkled with copious amounts of MSG and salt. Here is a far healthier version I made earlier this week (as a rather successful experiment). We couldn't believe how moreish it was! It turned out to be a good way to get the little one to eat her greens. Mabel grabbed at it like a digger!
You will need:
- large bunch Cavolo Nero (you can use curly kale, but it won't have the amazing bubbly texture of Cavolo)
- 1/2 tspn salt
- 1/2 tspn sugar
- 1/2 tspn 5 spice powder
- Sunflower/light olive oil
- large baking tray
- large mixing bowl
- Wash the cavolo nero and leave to properly dry or wipe well with a clean cloth. Moisture affects the 'cavolo's crisp-up' potential (and that's pretty much the whole point of crispy seaweed, right?)
- Heat oven to 190 degrees.
- Trim off and discard the thick woody stalks at the leaf base.
- Cut into bite-size pieces. I like to make the most of cavolo's wonderfully 3D bubbly texture by eating this seaweed cut into 1 1/2" wide chip-size pieces. You can cut the pieces to whatever size you like, just be sure to adjust cooking time to suit the size.
- Pop the cut up cavolo into a big mixing bowl and sprinkle with oil and massage it throughly into the pieces. You need just enough oil to coat all surfaces of the cavolo, without drowning it.
- Lay the cavolo onto the tray and spread into one layer. Avoid clumps as they will not crisp-up. It's better to bake twice than to bake clumps in one go - and be disappointed. Bake for 10-15 mins depending in the size your pieces. Turn once during cooking. When done, the piece should be paper thin, brittle and very crispy.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 mins. Season with the salt, sugar and 5 spice. Give it a gentle mix and serve (before you end up scoffing it all off the tray!)