Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Not Quite Korean Sushi: Kimbop

Rice in the rice cooker
On Saturday I made kimbop, which is like a Korean version of sushi, but it doesn't have raw fish.  Kimbop are the two Korean words 'kim' and 'bop' put together, which mean 'seaweed' and 'rice', respectively. 

There are some pretty traditional ingredients for kimbop (bulgogi, pickled radish, egg, spinach, etc.), but you can use whatever ingredients you like or have on hand, so there are infinite possibilities.  A friend tells of growing up eating kimbop with hotdog it it, I've also had a filling of bulgogi (Korean grilled meat) with slices of American cheese.  For mine I used pre-coooked ground beef, spinach, scrambled egg, and carrot.

The Process

You start by cooking rice (2:1 ratio of water to rice).  I used my rice cooker, which is an awesome way to cook rice.  Apparently rice is easy to burn on the stove, but I've never made it that way. Growing up, I made rice in the microwave, which is also really good and doesn't require any attention.  I've also read about making rice in a casserole dish in the oven, but since I've got a rice cooker I don't need to worry about another methods.

Ingredients lineup along with my sushi rolling mat.
While the rice was cooking away, I prepped the rest of the ingredients.  I defrosted some pre-cooked ground beef and added some seasoning.  I made some carrot curls with a vegetable peeler and pulled out some spinach that was at the end of it's usable life.  I tossed the carrot slices and spinach in some boiling water to blanch them.  This helped carrot to be soft enough to bite into.  Then you season up the spinach as well.  And I scrambled up two eggs and fried them up in a non-stick pan, then cut into thin slices.  When the rice is done, you add some vinegar, sugar, and salt.   It's all such an interesting combination of seasoning all the separate ingredients differently and then putting everything together and all the flavors blend together.

A sheet of seaweed with ingredients on top
To roll it up, you put down a piece of sushi nori (seaweed) on the rolling mat, spread some rice on the bottom two-thirds, leaving some empty space at the very bottom.  Then lay on your ingredients.  I made the mistake of just throwing the ingredients on and not referencing any instructions on placement, which caused all of my filling to be off to one side once sliced into rounds (see the last picture).  Oh well, they still taste the same. 

The nori is stronger than you might expect, so you can roll it up pretty tightly, which is what keeps it together after you cut it.  I need more practice since this is only about the second or third time I've ever made anything like this.

Rolled up kimbop
When you've got all your rolls put together, then you pull out a big, sharp chef's knife and cut them into bite-size pieces.  Since the rice is sticky, you need to rinse your knife off pretty often to ensure a good, clean cut.


I thought they were tasty and Husband Jeff ate a decent amount.  Previously he has professed a dislike of the seaweed and the seasoned rice, but he thought they were pretty good.  I particularly made these for Sonny D since he really liked them at a friend's birthday party, but he only ate about one and a half rounds.   
One plate plus a few extra.  And a bop bowl for Sonny D
using the ingredients that fell out as I rolled.

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) gmail.com. It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!