Karengo is the Māori name for edible red seaweeds that belong to the genus Porphyra, known in Japan as Nori (used to wrap sushi) and in Wales as laver (mixed with oatmeal and bacon fat to make laverbread).
In New Zealand, Karengo has been part of the Māori traditional diet for hundreds of years. It’s an important supplement to winter diet because of it’s high nutritional value – being rich in protein, minerals and vitamins and a great source of natural iodine.
Health Benefits of Karengo
Karengo offers the highest protein content in commercially available seaweeds with (over 35%) and among the most nutritious seaweeds with a high concentration of minerals & trace elements. The vitamin content is very high with significant amounts of Vitamins A, C, niacin and folic acid and B12.
The characteristic taste of Karengo is caused by the large amounts of three amino acids: alnine, glutamic acid and glycine, similar to those found in fish and eggs. Karengo also contains lignan compounds, a type of anti-oxidant which can prevent and fight cancer. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), this species of seaweed is recommended for resolving phlegm and dispelling heat. It also has applications for edema, urinary infections and sore throats.
How to Use Karengo in the Kitchen
Karengo should be a pantry staple – it can be used dry as a garnish, roasted (to make it crunchy), or soaked. Depending on how it’s prepared it can have a mushroom like taste or resemble the taste of anchovies. it’s a great addition to eggs, bread, fish, salads and even chocolate or ginger!
New Zealand Karengo Supply Currently Restricted
Currently due to the 2016 earthquake in Kaikora, the commercial harvesting of karengo in NZ has been halted due to damage caused by the earthquake, to the seabed. Whilst this is resolved, Pacific Harvest offers a wild Karengo from Chile and farmed Karengo from Korea. Both options have been tested for contaminants and sourced from ethical harvesters. We’re continuing to monitor the situation and hope to be able to offer a locally harvested Karengo in the near future.
Disclaimer: This material is provided for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is generic and should be verified by a qualified health practitioner for specific & individual needs & requirements.