I have been really tickled by the interest in Korean food by the wives on the base where we are stationed. I guess who could blame them? Korean food is AWESOME! (no biasism here) So, by request, here’s the first installment of what will hopefully be about 5 Korean dish posts.
Gheembap a.k.a kimbap is a popular everyday food of Koreans. Gheem refers to the seaweed and bap means rice. Many refer to it as Korean sushi. Instantly visions of lifetime trained sushi chefs come to mind and fill the home cook with terror. In contrast, what’s so great about this dish is that it’s completely void of all that fuss and fanfare. Many Koreans even eat it by hand and as a picnic food. This is also a great way to use up those leftover veggies in the fridge. You can pretty much put anything in it. And since evefything is cooked, no need to worry about food poisoning or parasites. Now that doesn’t sound so scary does it?
2cup uncooked sticky rice (I use jasmine rice)
2tbsp. Sesame oil (optional)
1-2 md. Carrots quartered lengthwise
2 eggs slightly beaten with 1tsp. Sugar
1/2 lb frozen spinach thawed (half of one of those frzn spinach boxes)
2 cloves garlic minced
Pickled korean radish
2 tbsp. butter (or olive oil if you must)
Gheem (also called by the Japanese nori Sheets or seaweed sheet)
Cook rice according to directions. Fold in the sesame seed oil. Don’t mix too roughly or you’ll make the rice mushy.
Add 1tbsp butter to nonstick md. skillet. Over md heat sauté the carrots until softened slightly (they should still have a slight crunch in the middle) transfer carrots to a plate.
Melt remainder tbsp of butter in the skillet. Reduce heat to low and add egg mixture. Cover and cook until the eggs are just set. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into long strips about 1/2″ thick. Transfer to the plate with the cooked carrots.
Add spinach,minced garlic and a pinch of salt to the skillet and cook until hot. Transfer to the plate with the other cooked veggies.
Slice Korean radish to roughly the same size as the carrots and then add to the veggie plate.
Set up your work station so that you can easily get to everything
Lay a sheet of gheem(nori) shiny side down onto the bamboo sushi roller (you can just roll it on the counter with your hands if you don’t have the bamboo mat but it won’t roll up quite as tight.)
Add about a 1/2 cup of the cooked rice. Using the side of a flat spoon, (or dampened fingers) spread as evenly and thinly as you can onto the bottom 2/3 of the sheet. Be sure that you don’t press hard or you’ll just break down the rice and make it gummy. Gentle light strokes are the key here.
Next add one piece of each filling lengthwise onto the bottom part of the seaweed.
Using the bamboo mat and your fingers, roll from the bottom just like you would a sleeping bag. You want to just guide it into a roll with firm/but not too hard pressure.
When you get to the top third of the sheet without the rice, dip your fingers in a bowl of water and dampen the seaweed so that the roll will seal.
Continue rolling to the end.
Cut each roll in half and then cut each of those in half and then in half again. You will end up with 8 pieces. *Whenever you notice a buildup of rice on the blade of your knife, wipe clean with a wet rag. Use a sharp knife and cut in a slow sawing motion.
Make only what you can eat in one setting as the rice dries out if you try to store till the next day. Enjoy!
Some variations I use include avocado, kimchi,scallion, and cucumber.
Another great filling alternative is to sauté a can of drained tuna in a skillet with 1tbsp sugar, 1tbsp soy sauce, 1tsp.sesame seeds (if you have it),1tbsp.sesame oil (or olive oil) and 1-2 cloves minced garlic.