Kimbap – Korean rolls

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Kimbap, Korean rice rolls, are a wonderful medley of vegetables, egg, radish and meat tightly wrapped in sesame rice and seaweed.

This recipe is one my yobo’s mom taught me to make when I lived in Korea.  My mother-in-law is a great cook and an amazing woman. Knowing how much I liked kimbap, every time we came to visit, she would prepare them.  She then patiently taught me how to cook despite my limited Korean language ability.  Using lots of hand gestures, simple Korean and some help from my yobo, I learned how to make these classic Korean rolls. There are many variations of kimbap but this is a basic version that my yobo grew up on.

Kimbap is picnic food or a great snack in Korea.  In my opinion, it is too time consuming for a snack. When I make 10 rolls of it, it is dinner! And a yummy dinner at that.

Yield: 10 rolls of kimbap

The time you need:  prep: 30 mins    rolling: 15 mins (depending how fast you are!)

The things you need:

  • a package of kim, seaweed, or nori sheets (10 pieces)
  • 4 cups white sticky rice (8 cups prepared)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (to taste… add more if you like it more salty)
  • Korean pickled radish – see picture
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 eggs
  • a package of lunch ham (or you can buy a ham steak and cut it up)

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The prep:

  • make the rice.  For directions, see this post by Kyah – bap
  • when the rice is made, allow it to cool slightly and add the sesame oil and salt.  Mix well.
  • beat the egg and fry on medium low like a crepe.  Flip when browned and cool. Cut into 10 long thin pieces
  • slice the carrots into 10 long thin pieces (6 inches long)
  • slice the radish into 10 long thin pieces (6 inches) or you can buy the package that is pre-sliced for you
  • cut the sides of the cucumber into 4 long pieces from the outside.  Discard the column of seeds. Cut the long pieces into 10 thin pieces each having some green on it – if this is confusing…see the picture 🙂
  • cut the ham into 2 halves
  • lightly fry the carrot in the fry pan used from the egg till it is browned and  lightly salt.

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The assembly:

  • lay the seaweed, kim, on a bamboo roller
  • scoop 3/4c + a little bit of rice onto the seaweed
  • spread out the rice evenly on the top 2/3 of the seaweed
  • use the spatula to spread and smooth out the rice
  • layer the ingredients at the bottom end of the rice
  • then carefully roll the seaweed like a jelly roll – if you know how to roll a jelly roll 🙂 – first pinching the top of the seaweed over the ingredients and then carefully rolling the rest nice and tight
  • use a little bit of rice at the end to ‘glue’ the seaweed to the roll
  • squeeze the roll tightly
  • allow the roll to rest a few minutes before cutting
  • cut with a sharp knife.  I find it helps to clean the knife between rolls or else it gets all goopy from the rice.

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Nothing beats making kimbap in the sunshine!


7 thoughts on “Kimbap – Korean rolls

  1. YUM!! Family favorite! Now I know the official name! We would always just say, “Who wants Korean sushi for lunch?” A treat for sure!

  2. We made this tonight. It was very good. We substituted crab for the pickled radish cuz my kids don’t really like that. (I love it, though) I’m curious what brand/type of rice you use. I think the kind we used wasn’t sticky enough.

    • I’m glad you like them. I have two kids that don’t like the radish either. They usually just pop them out of the rolls 🙂 I don’t love crab but my mother in law uses it in hers too. We use a medium grain rice, a Korean brand and make it with a 1 to 1 ratio.

Love to hear what you think!