Though I have posted plenty of Korean recipes on this site, including a recipe for spicy tuna kimbap, I realized that I never wrote a post about kimbap. Kimbap (or Gimbap), literally means “seaweed and rice” in Korean. I would say it’s the Korean version of a ham and cheese sandwich – it’s good for lunch when eaten with other food, or as a stand alone snack. The fillings vary according to your preferences, and/or whatever vegetable you happen to have on hand.
At home, I usually eat brown rice, but I make an exception for kimbap and use white rice instead. I don’t see the need to dip it in soy sauce, as everything is already seasoned before being rolled. This is how my mom makes kimbap, so it happens to be my favorite version. I just added bulgogi, that’s all. You can make your own version by adding or taking away some of the ingredients in this recipe below.
Recipe: Bulgogi Kimbap (Korean rolls with marinated beef)
Makes about 6 rolls (with plenty of leftover ingredients)
For bulgogi, you’ll need at least 4 hours for the beef to marinate.
5 cups of cooked short grain white rice (do not use long grain rice)
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of table salt
6 uncut pieces of unseasoned seaweed (Nori)
12 pieces of yellow pickled radish (Danmooji), more cut into half moons for serving
½ cup of blanched spinach
2 eggs, cooked and sliced
12 pieces of crab meat (not pictured), cut in half lengthwise
12 strips of carrots or 1 cup of sliced baby carrots
About 3 cups of cooked bulgogi
1 teaspoon of oil (any kind)
Sushi mat (optional)
A bowl of water (optional)
1. Scoop cooked white rice into a large bowl. Add rice vinegar, sesame oil and table salt. Mix well. Set aside to cool. (If the rice is too hot, the seaweed will curl and taste fishy, which you want to avoid.)
2. Whisk 2 eggs in a bowl. In a small frying pan, add a little oil. Add egg to the pan until the entire pan is covered in egg. After about 2 minutes, flip and let the egg cook. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into strips.
3. In the same frying pan, cook your marinated bulgogi. Rinse the spinach well and blanch in hot water. Remove from pot and let cool. Squeeze out all the water with your hands. Mix hint of sesame oil and salt.
4. Slice other ingredients and place on a plate.
5. Place seaweed on a sushi mat (if using). Spread about 3/4 cup of rice evenly across 2/3 of the way. Flatten the rice with wet fingers from your bowl of water or use rice scooper.
6. Add all vegetables and bulgogi in a line, making sure that it’s distributed evenly. I added 2 strips of everything in some of them, but not in others. Do whatever you prefer!
7. Smear some rice across the empty edge to use as an adhesive and carefully roll everything toward that edge. Once finished, pick up the entire roll and go over the edges with your hands.
8. On a cutting board, using a bread knife, slice into pieces, about 8-9 pieces for each roll.
Kimbap doesn’t keep well in the fridge, so make it fresh when possible. But if you have to, you can put leftovers in the fridge. Then dip them in egg batter and pan fry to enjoy!