Maki - Seaweed Question
I've only made maki twice...the first time, the seaweed retained its crunchy texture (but I don't remember which brand I used) and the second time, it got kinda soggy.
Is there a brand that is best? Whats the difference between the green and black coloured sheets? Does the country of origin matter (i.e., made in Japan vs China vs US)?
Although I prefer, Japanese, brand really doesn't matter. If your nori is a bit soggy, lightly pass the sheets back and forth a few times over a hot burner (electric is easier).
There is definitely a difference between Korean and Japanese seaweed. Japanese "nori" is denser (blacker), is usually not seasoned very much (the reason why it takes to soy sauce so well), and if it is seasoned then it is sweet (teriyaki nori). Korean "kim" is crunchy and salty (and is more green) making it great to eat alone with rice. To make "maki" I say stick with Japanese brands. My father explained that Japanese seaweed is made to retain the complexity of the original plant and the taste expands once you are chewing
Any of the seaweed that comes in large 10x8 sheets would do.
What I do is is to lightly roast the sheet of seaweed over an open flame/burner (just passing each side of the seaweed sheet over the flame quickly a few times), cover the sheet with rice that has cooled so there isn't much moisture to make it soggy, put all the good stuff inside, roll it, then cut it!
I believe you are correct about the green being roasted and the black not roasted. That said, there really is a difference between different kinds of laver. I never really noticed until I went to Sushi Zen in New York and had the most delicious maki. It was delicious not because of the fish, but because the seaweed was denser and nuttier than other seaweeds I've had before. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate the brand that replicates the taste of the Sushi Zen laver.
this has nothing to do with the kind of seaweed, about which I know nothing, but is it possible that the second time you made it, the rice was still a little warm? Whenever I make rolls and become too impatient to cool the rice entirely, the steam will make the seaweed immediately soggy. But I have no science to back that up!
When I used to make sushi I had the same problem. Even Japanese nori come in many brands and varities. For example, Yamamotoyama offers three grades of nori: regular, Silver, and Gold. However I don't remember how they differed. You would have to experiment with the brands. Probably thicker sheets would stay crunchy longer (and toasting really helps.)