I’m a fan of Korean and Japanese food, I’ve cooked a few Korean dishes and banchan(s) but I’ve always been intimidated by Japanese food. But now, I’ve found something similar with both Korean and Japanese dish – kimbap or maki.
Kimbap or gimbap (김밥) is a popular Korean snack which originated from the Japanese futomaki – meaning fat rolls. This is a snack made from white rice, often with three or more fillings and wrapped with nori or dried seaweed.
It’s only been recently that I began to explore the kitchen again (nausea did not help during the first three months) and I decided to make kimbap. I only used ingredients that are easy to get, such as cucumber, crab sticks (kani) and tamagoyaki (egg omelette).
I always knew something is done to the rice before it is spread on the nori and what do you know? A simple mixture of vinegar, sugar and salt is all that’s needed to make kimbap rice mixture! Of course, this is done while the rice has just cooked and still steaming hot. I used Maangchi’s recipe for the rice mixture.
Then comes the second part of cooking – making the tamagoyaki. I’ve noticed from all the maki I ate before in Japanese restaurants, the egg is somewhat sweet. Now I know why. Sugar is added to the egg before it is fried and don’t forget the salt! I used Cooking with Dog’s recipe and frying technique for this. Although I did not require the use of a rectangular shaped pan to fry the tamagoyaki. I guess I can say that skill is all that’s needed to shape the tamagoyaki into an elongated roll; but since I was not using a rectangular pan, it wasn’t as perfectly shaped as it would be. It doesn’t matter, people won’t notice that when it’s already rolled inside the rice with other ingredients.
Then comes the slicing part – too easy for me to do. I’m just glad I got the perfect sized cucumber for the kimbap. Now that’s done, I got eight pieces of crab sticks; although there are long ones sold in the grocery, I chose to buy the short ones because for some reason, it’s cheaper, haha!
Now comes the layering part. I got my bamboo mat (which I bought about two or three years ago but only got to use it now for the first time) on the slicing board, followed by a sheet of nori. I spread the rice on top of it evenly, but leaving about an inch on the top and bottom. Then I place the fillings, the tamagoyaki, two pieces of crab sticks and a piece of sliced cucumber. I actually thought it would be hard to roll or to wrap it but I was surprised it was that easy. Maangchi’s video was really a great help. Just a tip though, when slicing the rolls, make sure you use a sharp knife, and make sure that the knife is wet before you make each slice to prevent the rice from sticking.
I was able to make four rolls, each roll can be sliced into eight pieces, that excludes both ends. The first roll I made disappeared in no time. Now I can enjoy kimbap or maki at home at a much cheaper price and, I can enjoy the process of making it as well. I honestly didn’t know why I was so scared to make this before, it turns out it’s so easy to do! Serve with soy sauce, but don’t forget the wasabi!