Updated: Jul 14, 2021
Kimbap (김밥), is a favorite food for Koreans. Combinations of different flavors and textures are wrapped up in soft rice and savory seaweed to create a delicious meal or snack. Kimbap is really easy and quick to make. Keep ingredients ready, or just grab what you have at hand and make your own combination. I make a giant plate of kimbap in the morning and it's gone by the afternoon. It's sooo addictive!! Light, delicious and fun to eat, kimbap is one of my favorites.
4 dried seaweed sheets (Kim / sushi nori)
2 1/2 cups steamed short grain Kimpo rice
2 tbsp sesame oil, divided
3/8 tsp fine sea salt (or more to taste), divided
1 tsp sweet rice vinegar
120 g spinach, regular or baby spinach
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 carrot, julienned
2/3 cucumber cut into 1.27 cm (1/2 inch) long strips without seeds
4 takuan (danmuji), cut into 1.27 cm (1/2 inch) long strips
1 sheet of Korean fish cake (optional)
4 pieces of sliced ham (optional)
1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml
Sprinkle 1/8 tsp salt on sliced cucumber and set aside.
Rinse the spinach and parboil it in rapidly boiling water (30 seconds to 1 minute). Drain the water and run some cold water over the spinach. Gently squeeze the spinach to remove any excess water. Put the spinach into a bowl. Add 1/8 tsp salt and 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil and mix well.
Pre-heat a pan/skillet at medium heat. Add a small dash of cooking oil and spread it around the pan. Add the beaten egg and make sure that it covers the pan. Cover and turn off the heat. Let it steam for about 1 minute or until it is firm. Place the egg omelette on a cutting board and cut it into 1.9 cm (3/4 inch) long strips.
Separately, and over medium heat lightly cook the carrots, crab sticks or ham (about 1 minute for each).
Cut the fish cake lengthwise into 1.9 cm (3/4 inch) thick strips. Heat the pan with a little bit of oil over medium heat. Stir fry the fish cakes with the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and a little bit (about 1 teaspoon) of vegetable oil over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes.
Place the cooked rice into a mixing bowl and add 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil and sweet rice vinegar. Mix them well with a rice spatula or with your hands.
Gently squeeze the cucumber to remove any excess water.
Place one dried seaweed sheet (shiny side down) on the bamboo mat (I cover my mat with plastic wrap for easy clean-up).
Spread a large scoop of rice on the seaweed sheet and spread it evenly and thinly to cover the seaweed, leaving 3 cm at one end.
Starting 5cm from the top, place one strip of takuan, cucumber, ham and crab stick side by side. On top of the first layer, add a few eggs strips, carrot sticks, and spinach.
Begin to roll the seaweed with the filling by bringing the top of the bamboo mat over your filling and lightly pressing the roll along the length. Lift the top edge of the bamboo mat and press and roll. When you get to the end without rice, wet the seaweed and finish rolling. The wet end will seal your roll and hold it together.
Lightly brush the roll with sesame oil.
Move the kimbap to a cutting board. Starting in the middle, use a sharp knife and slice the kimbap into eight 1.27cm (1/2 inch) bite size pieces. To keep the rice from sticking to the knife, wipe a little bit of sesame oil onto the blade after each cut. Wipe the knife with a damp towel when it gets sticky with rice.
Arrange on a plate and serve.
Kimbap can also be eaten uncut. It's easy and convenient to eat uncut when you are on the run.
*Options, Substitutions and Combinations
Your imagination is the limit. Play with your food, enjoy good company and eat well.
Kimchi (of course!)
Sliced cheese or cream cheese, avocado and crab
Avocado, arugula, takuan and cream cheese
Bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef)
Shrimp, salmon or tuna
Imitation crab sticks
arugula, watercress, endive
Kimbap is best eaten fresh and the same day. If you do have any leftovers, put them in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. The next day, beat an egg, dip the cut sides of gimbap in the egg and pan-fry until the egg is cooked. Instead of your kimbap being hard and dry, you will have a delicious new kimbap taste.
Enjoy, and as we say, before meals: 잘 먹겠습니다 (jal meokgetseumnida), which roughly means: "Eat well."
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