Gimbap is the Korean take on a sushi roll. They’re not meant to be fancy, more something you would take to a picnic or eat as a quick snack.
- 440 g (15½ oz/2 cups) short-grain rice
- 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
- salt, to taste
- 1 Lebanese or Kirby (short) cucumber
- 1 bunch English spinach, roots trimmed
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 5 nori (seaweed) sheets
- 5 strips of pre-cut yellow pickled radish (danmuji) (see Note)
- 5 strips of pre-cut barbecued gimbap ham (see Note)
- 5 strips of pre-cut seasoned burdock root (see Note)
- mayonnaise, soy sauce and wasabi, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Cook the rice in a rice cooker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- While the rice is cooking, combine the rice vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
- Once the rice is cooked, spread it out on a baking tray, sprinkle with the rice vinegar mixture and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds. Cut each half lengthways into 5 mm (¼ in) thick strips and set aside.
- Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil over medium–high heat. Add the spinach and par-boil for 1 minute. Drain and refresh the spinach under cold running water, then squeeze out as much water as possible using your hands, and place the spinach in a bowl. Season with the sesame oil and a pinch of salt, and mix well. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium–low heat and fry the egg for 2–3 minutes. Once the bottom has set, flip the omelette over and cook for 1 minute on the other side. Once cooked, transfer the omelette to a chopping board and slice into 1-cm (½-in) thick strips.
- To assemble, place a nori sheet, shiny side down and with the longer side facing you, on a sushi-rolling bamboo mat. Spread about 185 g (6½ oz/1 cup) rice evenly over the nori, leaving a 4-cm (1½-in) edge at the top of the nori sheet.
- Place one or two strips each of the cucumber, egg, radish, ham and burdock root along the edge that is closest to you, and top with a few spinach leaves. Be careful not to overfill your sushi roll, or you will have trouble rolling it.
- Lift the edge of the bamboo mat that is closest to you and roll the nori over the filling away from you. Apply firm pressure to the roll and use your fingers to tuck the filling in as you go. Brush the top edge of the seaweed with a little water, then finish rolling to seal the sushi roll tightly. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make five rolls.
- Cut each roll into 2-cm (¾-in) thick pieces and serve with mayonnaise, soy sauce or wasabi on the side.
• Seasoned burdock root, yellow pickled radish and barbecued gimbap ham are all available from Korean grocery stores.
Recipe and images from Little Korea Iconic Dishes and Cult Recipes by Billy Law, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99