Friday, May 10, 2013

Let's go to Korea!

And for the BIG announcement, if you didn't already hear it!!

I am going to Korea!

Yes, I am going to Korea


I will be in Korea for two weeks and leaving the last week of May. Let's look forward to some stories of travels in pictures!

Let's get ready to roll! The fun of kimbap making.

If you haven't already seen the pictures floating around my Facebook and Instagram, I thought I would share the tasty kimbap I made this past weekend! It was the first time I made a successful batch of kimbap. I am rather proud of it and am excited to make more tasty (and presentable) Korean foods.  Kimbap is Korea's version of sushi with lots of different goods stuffed in the roll. Some include a variety of foods including cucumer, yellow radish, fish cake, egg, spam or meat, carrot, and spinach.  Often this food is made and prepared to take on picnics or to send children off to school. My friends decided to attend a baseball game. Because I was in a cooking mood, I made some to bring along.

See below for basic instructions and pictures of the fun:

What are some things you need to make kimbap? 
  • kimbap mat also known as a sushi roller
  • rice and rice cooker
  • sesame oil
  • sesame seeds
  • dry seaweed for making kimbap and sushi. Grocery stores usually carry this labeled as such or will show a picture. 
  • and all the good fixings. I usually choose 6 or 7. Some suggestions include:
    • fake crab
    • bulgogi
    • fish cake
    • tuna
    • cucumber
    • carrots
    • spinach
    • yellow radish
    • egg
1. Prepare the rice. 2 cups of dry rice makes about 6 or more servings of cooked rice.  Prepare it as you usually would, but use slightly less water to make your rice more sticky cohesive.  After the rice is cooked, let cool while still maintaining its warmth. Warm rice makes for easier kimbap rolling. Then, add a teaspoon or more of sesame oil and one teaspoon of sesame seeds. Mix and keep warm. 

2. Prepare all other fixings. Some only include chopping or slicing. 
  • Spinach: Boil water and blanch or boil the spinach for approximately 1 minute (or one more if you like it cooked, but it begins to rob it of its nutrients). Remove from water and squeeze water out. You may add a small amount of sesame oil if you wish, but not necessary. 
  • Egg.  Crack 4 eggs and mix well. Add a small amount of water for better mixing. Fry like a pancake in a frying pan on low heat and flip. Cook evenly. Remove from heat. After cooling, cut in one centimeter thick pieces. 
  • Julienne (or cut/slice) carrots as seen below. 
  • Cut and prepare all other foods as you like. 
3. Let's get ready. Line up all the ingredients for the kimbap rolls. 

From left to right, these are the ingredients I used:
spinach, carrot, egg, cucumber, yellow radish, and tuna off to the side

Pull out the mat. It's best to wrap it in seran or plastic wrap. This makes the kimbap rolling much easier. I learned this while watching ahjummas prepare kimbap in church kitchens and at my favorite kimbap place in Korea: Kimbap Chonguk (translates: Kimbap Heaven). It's a heavenly kimbap place and considered the McDonald's of Korea. Don't worry, you can still find McDonald's in every major city in Korea! 

Put down a piece of seaweed on the mat. Add rice to the seaweed placing it from the bottom edge at .75 cm thick and covering 2/3 to 3/4ths of the seaweed.  If the rice does not spread easily, add some sesame oil to the spoon or the rice spoon as you spread. I had a bit too much sesame oil or just enough in my rice that it spread well.

Begin adding your goodies one by one. It's best to add the same amount of each. Or if adding different vegetables with various consistencies, add enough that makes them of equal thickness.

Now, let's get ready to roll!  Hold everything together and begin rolling the seaweed using the kimbap mat.  Hold it in carefully. Once you roll kimbap so that the insides are covered begin to pull the kimbap towards the edge of the mat closest to you again.  Finish rolling and wrapping to the end. To better seal the kimbap, wet your finger and dab the smallest amount of water necessary to seal the kimbap together.

This might be something you come up with! 

Full of good food. It looks tasty.

After rolling your kimbap, you will need to cut it into pieces. I bought a sharp knife just for this very task. In the past I tried to cut some rice rolls with a dull knife. Quite the disaster. Cut them into bite sizes. Once cut, wrap them in foil or place them in an airtight sealed container to maintain freshness. If you're like me, you'll begin eating right away!

Here they are:

What do you like in your kimbap? I also like to make kimbap wraps with kimchi and tuna. You can get creative and add whatever you like!

I hope you like them and will try making some for yourself in the future.

Happy eating and have a great weekend.