Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cooking: Gimbap (김밥)

     Gimbap is Korea's most popular "fast food." It is enjoyed as a light lunch, snack, or anytime the need grabs you. Don't confuse gimbap with sushi rolls. Gimbap doesn't contain raw fish and can be made with whatever ingredients that you want, including vinegared rice, or not. Today, We made some regular style gimbap and my favorite: tuna gimbap (참치김밥).

     Making gimbap is a time consuming affair. The longest part of making gimbap is setting up your gimbap station. Once you get prepped though, you'll find that it is no problem to crank out a ton of gimbap. Since the set-up takes so long and the rolling process goes so fast, people tend to make A LOT of gimbap when they decide that's what they're going to do. To help cut down on prep time, stores sell these "gimbap sets" that have everything you need to make ten rolls of basic gimbap. So we bought two.

     Inside you can see that they provide you with some seaweed sheets, ham, imitation crab meat, pickled daikon radish (단무지), and some burdock (우엉). To add to this we're also going to make an omelet to slice into strips, some tuna mixed with mayonnaise, as well as a TON of rice. Remember that as long as you have the seaweed sheets and rice, you can put whatever you want into your gimbap. Other common ingredients include: cucumber, spinach, carrot, beef, and even cheese.

Although the ham is fully cooked, DumbTwo insisted on re-frying it.
This omelet is one layer, and THICK cook on one side on low then flip the whole thing over to the other side when you can to finish cooking it. When finished cut it into strips. We made two omelets cut into twelve strips each.
Alright, here you can see our fillers are set up and ready to go.

And here is the complete station.
     One more thing I have to talk about is the rice. We mixed sesame oil, olive oil, a little salt, and a little vinegar to our rice. The sesame oil is for flavor, the olive oil is to prevent the rice from drying out, and the vinegar is to prevent spoilage. A decent ratio to use is 1:2:4 vinegar to sesame oil to olive oil. Remember that vinegar is optional, and you may want to change the ratio depending on your taste. NICE RATIO, BUT HOW MUCH DO I ADD! Remember that Koreans usually don't measure anything and in fact I only came up with this ratio after guesstimating what we used in the end. Use your best judgement, you don't want the rice to be too wet, but you definitely don't want it to dry out. Since we were using a big bowl of rice a tablespoon for the ratio would probably be okay. Remember that you can always add more rice if you think that you added to much oil to it. As for how much rice, well we ended up having to make rice twice to finish all of our gimbap, using about 8 cups of it. Luckily, we have an amazing rice machine so this wasn't an issue.

Lay out your seaweed rough side up. The dull sheen side goes down.
Add a thin later or rice to the sheet. leave a little space at the top so that your roll isn't too big, and put a little rice at the very top to hold the whole thing together when it's rolled.

Add your fillers.

Roll the gimbap once by hand.

Then use your bamboo gimbap mat to get a nice, tight, final roll. Use the same motion that you would use when rolling up a newspaper.

     You'll also want to dab a little water along the seam where the gimbap was rolled, this will prevent the seaweed from drying out there and serve to hold the gimbap together. I actually took a video of this but I can't get it to upload. Sad face. If you don't have a gimbap mat then it's okay, you'll just have to take extra care when rolling your gimbap by hand.

     At this point you are finished. all you have left to do is brush the gimbap roll with some sesame oil and slice it up to serve! The gimbap will keep at room temperature for close to a day (not the tuna kind), but once you put it in the fridge, the rice will begin to petrify. You can nuke it to make it edible again, but it's just not the same as when you first made it. We ended up with twenty of these guys and ended up calling the in-laws to come and take some off our hands, which is what everyone does when they make gimbap. Gimbap is nice like that.

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