Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kimbap - Korean sushi rolls

I first learned how to make kimbap (Korean rice rolls that are most similar to Japanese sushi) from a friend's mother when I was in Korean dance. Most of us were adopted, so Jinhee's mother taught us to cook a few Korean dishes. This was also one of my favorite street foods when I lived in Korea.

Kim (also sometimes pronounced gim) is the Korean word for seaweed, and bap (also pronounced pap) is the word for rice (also sometimes the word for meal or the general concept of eating or having eaten), but in this instance it means rice.

You can put pretty much whatever you like in kimbap - like bibimbap, it's a way for ajummas to clean out their refrigerator. I used carrot, cucumber, picked daikon (dan-muji), imitation crab stick, and fried egg.

You start with your filling ingredients sliced thinly, about the length of a sushi nori sheet. I also sauteed a bunch of spinach with garlic, pepper and sesame oil, and finely chopped the leftovers from last night's bulgogi dinner. Other options are ham or spam, tuna, kimchi, fish cake (odang), pickled burdock root, ground beef, and so on.

Jake was nice enough to take these action shots of me making a kimbap roll. Jinhee's mother (and every other Korean I've witness making kimbap) was very good at expertly rolling all the filling up so tightly, it wouldn't budge. I, on the otherhand, don't always get enough rice, and sometimes roll mine too loosely.

You want about 2/3 of the nori (shiny side down) to be covered with sticky rice. Dip your fingers in water before pressing the rice down. Make sure the rice covers the kim all the way down to the corners and edges. Dress your rice with about 1/2 TBS sugar, 1 TBS rice vinegar and freshly ground black pepper and cool to room temperature before starting.

Lay your flat ingredients first - the spinach (squeeze as much moisture out as you can) and the meat.

Then add the rest of your ingredients, trying to keep them as close together as possible. Make a thin line of rice at the very top of your sheet, this will act like glue and seal your roll.

Hold the ingredients as far to the bottom edge as possible as you roll upward, squeezing tightly to form the roll.

Use a very sharp knife to slice the kimbap. Brush them with sesame oil and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with a dipping sauce.

Dreaming? of hot, fresh kimbap off the street stands in Seoul

1 comment:

  1. wow! This looks great, and I'm loving the action shots.