I’m back with another Korean recipe from my umma (‘mom’ in Korean!). Kimbap literally means “seaweed” “cooked rice” – which doesn’t sound all that fancy but what makes it delicious is all of the veggies and goodies inside this seaweed wrapped rice roll. You can absolutely use beef as one of the ingredients inside but if you’re more plant based you can omit and it tastes just as delicious!
When my mom was growing up, kimbap was more of a specialty food or a special treat. She told me in elementary school, every year her and her classmates would go on an annual picnic. The children that had the finances would be able to pack kimbap (some even with meat, which was a real treat) and a soda. A lot of times though, kids in Korea wouldn’t be able to treat themselves to it. 1960’s Korea was very different! Now though, kimbap is in fast food courts and readily available at most all Korean restaurants and quick cafes.
I love this dish for two reasons:
- It’s versatile! You can add literally any vegetable or ingredient to the inside of the roll and customize it to however you like! Spinach and carrots are traditional fillings but you can also include eggs, beef, beets, honestly any food that is colorful would be so delicious in this! The more colors the better.
- It’s also handy! If you make this ahead of time it’s such an easy lunch or snack to have in your work or school day. It’s finger food so you don’t have to worry about utensils and it leaves zero mess.
Homemade Traditional Korean Kimbap Recipe
- 2 cups of spinach
- 1 large carrot
- 1 cup kobo Japanese root or lotus root could also be a great sub!
- 3 eggs
- Package of unseasoned seaweed
- Sesame oil
- Rice Vinegar
- Sesame seeds
- 1.5 cups of uncooked white rice
- Bamboo roller
- Cook the white rice first so that it's ready to go while the veggies are being prepared. You may have left over rice that can be great for other meals!
- Cook the spinach in water for less than one minute
- Rinse the spinach under cold water to stop the spinach from overcooking
- Mix together sesame seeds, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, and a pinch of salt with the spinach and put to the side
- Julienne 1 large carrot and sauté in a pan until al dente. Add a pinch of salt.
- Julienne 1 cup kobo and sauté in a pan. Add a pinch of salt.
- Whisk 3 eggs together to break the yolk and cook on medium/low heat to cook all the way through. Don't forget to flip the eggs over!
- To the cooked white rice, add 1 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp of rice vinegar, and a pinch of sesame seeds and mix thoroughly.
- Next you will notice with the unseasoned, plain seaweed that one side is shiny and one side is more rough. Place shiny side down so that now you can layer the white rice on the rough side of the seaweed.
- Make sure to place the seaweed on top of a bamboo roller so you can roll it up after you're finished!
- Place a thin layer across 3/4 of the way up the seaweed.
- Next start creating "rows" of veggies and layer it on top of the rice. I like to keep my veggies colorful so that I eat as many colors of the rainbow as possible.
- Now it's time to roll it up.
- The trick to rolling, is to keep it tight! Just like a burrito, you don't want to loosely fold the sides over, you want to keep things as compact as possible so everything remains in place.
Let me know if you try this recipe and how you like it!