Regardless of whether we grew up in a Korean, Russian, American, or Indian household, we all have that one dish that reminds us of childhood. Better yet, some dishes take us down memory lane--to picnics that took place in the cool spring weather, when life was completely carefree and being in the great outdoors was pure bliss! Remember those days? Yeah, me too. :)
Kimbap (김밥) is one of those traditional Korean foods that are both adult and kid-friendly. For lack of better description, think of it as the Korean version of the...Japanese bento box, hah! Hope I'm not offending a fellow Japanese out there. Fingers crossed.
Now what exactly does Kimbap mean?! It literally transliterates into "seaweed rice". It's rocket science, I know.
The steps I'm going to show you may seem quite tedious. And they well may be, especially if you have to get these ingredients that even I don't know what to call them in English! I mean, what in the world is Burdock root?! I don't know either. I just know it's delicious!! But trust me on this one. Kimbap is truly easy to make as long as you have everything ready to go. Doing so will save your sanity and you won't find yourself scurrying in the kitchen like a madman. Once you have the sauteing, juliennening, seasoning, and rolling down, you are good to go. :)
Korean Beef Kimbap
Makes approximately 7 rolls | Feeds About 5 Individuals
You will Need
- rice cooker (or something to cook the rice in, but it has to come out sticky)
- small-medium pot
- medium-large skillet
- little bowl for mixing
- cutting board
- large kitchen knife (the sharper the better)
- bamboo sushi roller (found at Asian+some American markets)
Ingredients for Kimbap Rice
- 2C brown rice (or white)
- 4C water
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- dash of black pepper
Ingredients for Sauted Carrots and Spinach
- 1 1/2C julienned carrots (try to cut them long)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- dash of pepper
- 5C fresh clean spinach
- water to boil spinach
Ingredients for Eggs
- 2 large eggs
- sprinkle of salt+pepper
- oil spray
Ingredients for Meat Strips
- 1 lb beef tenderloin, cut in thin strips (or other tender meat)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
Ingredients for Kimbap
- Pack of roasted sheets of plain sushi seaweed
- pack of burdock and pickled radish (or just the radish)
- Cook the rice in the rice cooker at 'brown rice' setting if possible (you might be able to make it sticky enough in a pot), but leave out the seeds and seasoning for now. It will take at least 45 min. Let it cool a little afterwards if you have time.
- Saute carrot strips on medium heat, with the oil, salt, and pepper. Saute until it's half way tender, set aside.
- Slightly boil the spinach, only for about 2-3 minutes so it is wilted but not shredding apart. Run under cold water and squeeze all the liquids out, set aside.
- Heat the skillet on medium heat, spray with oil. Quickly scramble eggs with salt+pepper, in a small bowl. Thinly spread the mixture on the skillet and cook both sides until right before it's browned.
- Cook the beef strips on the skillet, with all the ingredients. Slightly brown it and set aside.
- Go back to your rice and season it with the seeds and salt+pepper. Mix it around thoroughly.
- Lay the bamboo roller flat, and place one seaweed (nori) sheet. As thinly as possible, carefully spread the rice on the nori sheet from the edge that's right in front of you, and let just a tiny bit of room when you get to the opposite side.
- Place all the strips of ingredients in the order you wish, right next to each other.
- Grab the bamboo roller and carefully start rolling away from you, gently+firmly squeezing the kimbap. Then roll again and squeeze again. Repeat it till the very end.
- Slice gently into 8 pieces!
I hope this step by step recipe helped clear up your fears of making Kimbap! I suggest buying most of the ingredients at a Korean store because not only will you find them there for sure, but they are a lot cheaper as well. Sometimes you can even find 10 lbs. of lettuce for less than $5. You can customize Kimbap by making it gluten free and vegan, or you can make it a bit fattier by adding spam and more sugar in the sauted fillings.
Confession time...How many of you haven't tried Kimbap or are scared to try it? :)
What picnic foods remind you of childhood?
What dish do you find to be very time consuming?