One of my favourite Korean dishes is Kimbap, because it’s very quick to make, it’s convenient, easy to make, and it has everything: rice, meat, vegetables, etc, 1-2 rolls are enough for a meal. Moreover this dish can be consumed cold, so I think that it’s very suitable for summer, when you don’t want to spend too much time in the hot kitchen doing complicated dishes, and it’s also a very nice choice for a picnic or when you go on a trip, and you don’t have to think about how to keep food hot.
Kimbap is a fairly familiar dish so I won’t introduce it too much, I just want to outline some main differences between this dish and Japanese Sushi (I have a lot of people asking me this). For me, two of the most prominent differences are the seasoning of the rice and the fillings. The seasoning for Sushi rice is vinegar and sugar, which gives the rice a light sweet and sour taste, for Kimbap it’s salt and sesame oil, which gives the rice a salty and slight rich taste. The fillings for sushi is mostly fresh and raw, such as raw fish or squid, and for Kimbap it’s mostly cooked ingredients that is seasoned to taste, for example I used sweet and salty tuna, which is my most liked fillings.
I will also introduce how to cook Japanese rice. I’va always struggled with Japanese rice before, and the result was usually by chance, and most of the time I ended up with undercooked or mushy rice, even though I let it cook for a long time and used the exact measurement for water. After reading on many food blogs, I finally found a fool-proof way to cook delicious chewy rice, and Japanese rice is not a threat to me anymore.
Công thức tiếng Việt: Kimbap và cách nấu gạo Nhật
A. Japanese rice:
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Waiting time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 people
- 190g Japanese rice (short grain rice)
- 250ml room temperature water
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes (to roll the Kimbap)
Servings: 2 Kimbap rolls
- 2 dried nori (seaweed) sheets
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 100g canned tuna
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ½ tablespoon sugar, a pinch of pepper
- Half a carrot
- Half an avocado
- Sesame oil
- A pinch of salt
Notes on the ingredients:
Rice: the best rice for Kimbap would be Japanese short grain rice. If you don’t have it you can use normal medium or long grain rice and add a handful of glutinous rice to increase the stickiness of the rice.
Fillings: there is no real fixed recipe for Kimbap’s fillings, as long as the ingredients goes well together, there is meat and vegetables, or even more vegetables than meat or all vegetables would still be delicious. The fillings that I sued in this recipe is for reference only, you can change according to your taste. If you can find Danmuji (Korean pickled radish), the Kimbap will be even more delicious.
Bamboo mat to roll the Kimbap: the bamboo mat will help keep the roll firm and even, but you can also just use your hands to roll (I used to hand-roll my Kimbaps before, and found it even easier than rolling Vietnamese fried spring rolls :))). You can also stack some aluminium foil together to create a thicker piece and use that instead of a bamboo mat.
1. Rinse the rice. Usually Japanese and Korean recipe always tell you to rinse the rice until the water runs clear, but I think ding it like that is a bit of a waste on the nutrition values of the starch, so I only rinse the rice 3 times before cooking.
190g Japanese rice
2. Put the rice in a saucepan, add the water and soak the rice for 30 minutes. We have this soaking step because Japanese rice is bigger than medium or long grain rice, soaking the rice will helps it absorb the water and cook more evenly. I didn’t have this soaking step before and my rice always took a really long time to cook, or is uncooked on the inside.
240ml room temperature water
3. After soaking, put the saucepan on the stove, loosely cover the pan and heat on medium high heat for 12-15 minutes. Open the lid, use a spoon to lightly stir the rice. Put the lid back on and reduce to low heat and let cook for 10 more minutes, and it’s done. I usually get a very nice crunchy layer of scorched rice at the bottom of the pan
B. Making Kimbap
1. Preparing the ingredients: while waiting for the rice to cook, you can start preparing the fillings.
Drain the water in the canned tuna. Add to a pan and heat on medium high heat, drizzle some sesame oil into the pan and toss. Season with soy sauce, sugar and pepper, adjust to your taste. Turn off the heat and let cool.
Peel the avocado and slice into 0.3 – 0.5cm slices, set aside.
Peel the carrot, cut into 8 – 10cm strips. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the carrot and bring tha water back to a boil, drain well, mix in a bit of salt so the carrot is slightly salty.
Toss white and black sesame on medium heat until fragranced.
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds; 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds; 100g canned tuna; 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ½ tablespoon sugar, a pinch of pepper; half a carrot; half an avocado
2. When the rice is done, transfer to a plate, add sesame, salt and a bit of sesame oil, use a wooden spoon or a spatula to gently mix the rice. Season so that the rice is slightly salty and fragranced with sesame oil. Let the rice cool down until it’s warm and start rolling your Kimbap.
I usually mix the rice with the seasoning buy putting some rice from the outside of the plate to the middle, then use a wooden spoon/spatula to gently push the rice down and mix them. I learnt this method from a friend of mine who used to work in a Japanese restaurant, and I find that mixing the rice like this reduce the chance of breaking the rice grains like when you directly mix the rice inside the pan.
Sesame oil; a pinch of salt
3. Divide the rice into 2 equal parts, have all the fillings prepared.
Put the nori sheet on the bamboo mat. Each nori sheet has 2 sides, one smooth and one a little rough, you want the rough side up so the rice can stick to the sheet. Spread the rice evenly on the nori sheets, leave about 2-3cm at the end of the sheet.
Spread half of the tuna on top of the rice, spread it over half of the rice. Arrange the rest of the fillings on top, try to make them stay close to each other. For each of the roll I used 4 strips of carrots and 4 slices of avocado.
Slowly roll the nori sheet and the rice, using your fingers to keep the fillings from coming apart, and use the bamboo mat to press down while rolling to keep the Kimbap roll firm. I found this photo so it’ll be easier for you to visualise the process.
2 dried nori (seaweed) sheets
4. After finish rolling all the rice, use a pastry brush to brush some sesame oil on the outside of the roll, this will help enhance the taste of the Kimbap as well as giving if a shiny look.
You can finish here and eat the roll as a whole :)) or you can cut the roll into 1-5 – 2cm thick slices. Use a very sharp knife and make clean cuts, not too much see-saw motions or the slices can break.
Bon appétit everyone ^^