The nori of the Philippines
Gamet (Porphyra sp) belongs to the same family as nori which is a popular Japanese seaweed used to wrap sushi. Locally, gamet is referred to as "Black Gold" because of its high market value. It can be found in the northern provinces of the Philippines such as Cagayan and Ilocos Norte. This particular batch is from Sta. Praxedes, Cagayan Province.
It's actually quite healthy as it's rich in protein, iodine, vitamin A, B & C and trace minerals. Our local variety is minimally processed which makes it retain its natural color and gives off this deep reddish purple hue. After blanching it for a few minutes to rehydrate, you can keep this beautiful stock for soups later on. It still contains natural sea salts and that rich umami flavor that we all love in seaweed.
Locals handpick and scrape the shores and rocks near the sea which makes this very dangerous and labor intensive. If you live in Manila, you can order these online at Ritual PH for Php 90 per disk or about 10 grams.
I was so excited to try these out and instantly ordered them as soon as they were available. This seaweed can only be harvested during the amihan season which is roughly from November to March. Their shelf life only lasts for a month in room temperature and about 2 months in the chiller.
Blanching refers to a cooking method where you quickly boil something in water, remove them immediately and shock them in an ice bath. This is usually for fruits and vegetables as it helps retain the color and crispness of your food.
Here you can see just how small and delicate each individual seaweed is after its been rehydrated. I can't imagine how long it would take having to handpick each and every piece from slippery rocks to form tons of gamet.
I was in the mood for some protein rich fried rice so I prepared my ingredients of garlic, bell peppers and spring onions from my garden, eggs and adlai. If you aren't familiar yet, adlai is a Philippine alternative to quinoa. Its high in fiber and protein and a great healthy rice alternative. Because its so rich in nutrients and has a low glycemic index, it keeps me feeling full longer.
I stir fried everything and seasoned it with a dash of liquid aminos for that extra umami (as if the umami from the gamet wasn't enough!). I topped it off with some toasted crispy gamet bits for added color and texture, and you have a healthy heritage dish.
For more information on gamet, you can watch these videos down below.