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October 4, 2006

Mamenori experimentation

[square bento box with wildflowers scene made from carrots, egg, spam, snow peas and colored mamenori]

Bento contents: wildflowers scene with leaves and stems made from steamed snow peas and green (spinach) mamenori, flowers made from carrots, orange (paprika) mamenori, egg, yellow (turmeric) mamenori, spam, and pink (who knows) mamenori.

Mamenori is soybean paper, which often is used in place of nori to make colorful sushi rolls and the like. I expected mamenori to be a lot like nori, but it really isn't. Nori is delicate and crisp, while mamenori is pliant and more durable. Its texture reminds me of a thin, non-sticky fruit roll-up. The taste is different too, with nori a bit on the salty side and mamenori a bit on the sweet side. I bought mine from GourmetSleuth.

Mamenori also behaves a lot differently than nori when used to lay a design on a hot bed of rice. Nori tends to shrink a little, but the overall proportion of your design will remain the same once the nori is done shrinking. Mamenori, on the other hand, curls like all get out. It didn't matter what side of the mamenori I laid down on the rice, it would just curl upwards into a little tube. I ended up having to moisten both sides before setting it down on the rice to get it to stay put. As you can see, mamenori is translucent as well. The more boldly colored blossoms are made from double thickness cut-outs.

I'll have to experiment more to see what else I can come up with.

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