Kimbap is a must at any Korean picnic. Traditional versions use bulgogi meat, assorted vegetables and omelette. The rice is seasoned with sesame oil and salt rather than vinegar and sugar. There is no need for dipping sauce as everything is properly seasoned to create that perfect well-balanced bite.
- 2 cups (400 g) medium grain rice
- 4 eggs, whisked with a pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium carrot, julienned (matchsticks)
- 1 bunch English spinach, stems removed
- 2½ tbsp sesame oil
- ¼ tsp finely minced garlic
- 2 tsp salt
- 400 g marinated bulgogi (see Note)
- 300 g packet white pickled danmooji (daikon) strips (see Note)
- 10 sheets of kim (nori)
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.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Resting time 30 minutes
Wash rice until it runs clear, then drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Add to a medium-sized saucepan with 2 cups cold water, place over medium-high heat until just boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until warm.
Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add 2 tsp vegetable oil. Add the eggs and leave until almost cooked through. Flip the omelette over and cook for 20-30 seconds until just set. Remove from the pan and when cooled, cut into long, thin strips, about ½ cm wide.
Clean frying pan, return to medium-high heat until hot, add remaining 2 tsp vegetable oil and add carrots, season with salt and quickly fry for about 30 seconds, until just starting to soften.
Place a large saucepan of hot water over high heat and bring to boil. Blanch spinach for 30 seconds until just wilted. Drain and squeeze out excess water, mix with 2 tsp sesame oil, garlic and salt to taste.
Preheat a barbecue plate over high heat, and drain the bulgogi. Spray the barbecue plate lightly with oil and cook in small batches for 30-40 seconds until just cooked through, turning over when almost cooked through. Remove from plate and set aside.
Arrange omelette, cooked carrot and spinach on a platter with cooked bulgogi and danmooji (daikon strips).
In a bowl, gently mix the rice with 2 tbsp sesame oil and ½ -1 tsp salt.
Place sushi mat on a board. Place kim (nori sheet) on the mat, shiny side down. Place ½ cup cooked rice on kim, covering about two-thirds of the sheet, but place some grains close to the edge to ensure it seals. Place a small portion of all the ingredients on top of the rice, lining them up together at the closest side. Roll the kim, using your mat until you have a cylinder shape. Squeeze the roll inside the mat gently so that the kimbap is not loose.
Repeat with all the other ingredients to make the rest of the rolls. Cut kimbap into bite sized pieces (8-10 pieces per roll) with a very sharp, slightly moist knife.
Other popular fillings for kimbap are fish cakes, crab sticks, ham and cooked burdock root. For the home cook without a sushi mat, use a clean tea towel instead.
• Marinated bulgogi and pickled danmooji are available from Korean food stores. Alternatively, see our bulgogi recipe.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto.