Making every bite count

14 January 2007

to make Sarah jealous

In Korea, kimbap is affordable and ubiquitous; there were three Kimbap Chunguk (heaven) within a one-block radius of my school.

Brunch, lunch, dinner, late-night drinking snacks... kimbap is a 24/7 snack. The basic one has Spam (Pervasive in Korea thanks to Americans. South Korea is the third biggest consumer of the potted meat product), radish, cucumber, carrots, egg, faux crab and some roots. They are delicious! You can also add ground bulgogi (sweet, seasoned beef), kimchi, tuna, fish eggs, etc. There's a version wrapped in an omelet, and one filled with spicy dried fish.

They're about a foot long and two inches around, for between 1,000 and 3,500 won ($1-$3.50). My favorite was modum kimbap, which had 1/3 kimchi, 1/3 tuna and 1/3 bulgogi. Yum.
Sarah and I love them, and we hadn't had them since leaving Korea. I had one this week at Riverside, the Korean restaurant in Covington. It was $6 (!), about 6 inches long and was a little bland. I decided to try to make some at home.

The basic ingredients are:
pickled radish strips
blanched carrots, julienned
frozen spinach, thawed and drained
cucumber strips
scrambled egg, cooked until very "hard" and cut into strips
faux crab meat strips
nori sheets (kim in Korean)
sushi rice, cooked and seasoned with sugar, rice vinegar and salt
sesame seeds
sesame oil
chopped kimchi, drained

Here are the preparations: Spread rice thinly on the nori/kim, wetting hands to keep it from sticking. Don't be afraid to use pressure to spread it thinly. Spread the rice to the edges. Stack a strip each of the egg, cucumber, crab and radish and some carrots and spinach. Add tuna, mayo and kimchi, if desired. Using a straw or silicone mat, slowly roll up. Wipe the top with sesame oil, then slice with a sharp knife.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on the top; serve with pickled radish slices and kimchi.
Here is the finished roll:

Sliced and ready to eat:

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