You’ve probably seen your favorite idols and K-drama characters eat this Korean dish that resembles a sushi roll.
That is kimbap; a dish made from cooked rice and other ingredients that are rolled in gim, dried sheets of nori seaweed, and served in bite-sized slices. Koreans love to eat it as a snack, a light lunch, or pack it for a picnic.
Today we are sharing a very simple recipe that requires little to no cooking skills whatsoever.
Ingredients (Makes about 4 rolls)
- 4 dried seaweed sheets (nori)
- 2 cups of spinach
- 4.2 oz of kimchi
- 1/2 carrot (4 oz), julienned
- 4 yellow pickled radish strips
- 2 ½ cups of cooked white rice (short grain)
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- Salt to taste
- Rolling bamboo mat or tin foil
Traditional kimbap uses a sort of rolled egg similar to an omelette, but in order to keep this recipe simple, we’re skipping this step. Don’t worry though, it’s still going to be delicious.
You can also add bulgogi to step up the flavor. Korean and Asian stores sell already seasoned bulgogi, making the process a lot easier. Make sure you let the meat rest before adding it to the roll. Other popular protein additions are spam, crab meat, and canned tuna.
- In a mixing bowl, add cooked rice, sesame oil and salt. Mix well with a wooden spatula, then set aside.
The easiest way to cook rice is to do it on a rice cooker but if you don’t have that at home, check out the video below on how to cook rice in a pot.
- Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the spinach, then place it on a plate covered with a paper towel. The paper towels will absorb the excess water from the spinach, which can cause the seaweed sheet to fall apart and you don’t want that!
- In the same skillet (because we’re trying to save you clean up time afterwards), add the carrots and lightly cook them for about 1 ½ minute. If you prefer a crunchier texture on your kimbap, we suggest not cooking the carrots. Just give them a good rinse and pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess water.
And then...we roll, we roll
- Place one dried seaweed sheet on the bamboo mat, or tin foil, the shiny side should be facing down.
- Put the rice on the seaweed sheet then use a spatula to spread it evenly. You should leave about 1 ½ inch gap at the top (about the size of your thumb)
The ingredients don’t have to be in a certain order but make sure you’re using them evenly to have enough for all the rolls:
- Place a long strip of finely-chopped kimchi, followed by spinach, carrots, and the pickled radish strip. Make sure all ingredients are very close together.
- Start rolling from the bottom, gently squeezing the roll as you go to keep all the ingredients from falling out.
- If the seaweed isn’t sticking, you can wet your fingers and run them along that gap we left on it earlier, but be careful to much water can make the seaweed disintegrate. Set the roll aside and repeat the steps with the other 3 seaweed sheets.
- Place two rolls next to each other on a cutting board, and cut them about 1 inch wide. It should be enough to eat it in one bite.
And very important, make sure you’re using a very sharp knife for this otherwise your rolls are going to break apart. We also recommend wiping or washing your knife in between cutting the rolls for the same purpose.
Although really yummy on its own, you can take this kimbap up a notch by adding a little bit of soy sauce before eating it. If you want to save some for later, or you’re taking it somewhere like a picnic, simply store the uncut rolls in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Let us know in the comments below if you’re giving this easy peasy recipe a try!
Written by Dianelys Fuentes