From time to time I am asked if I miss Korean food. I don’t know if I miss Korean food that much but definitely, I have a craving for spicy food. Not all Korean dishes are spicy but spicy flavour is pretty important for many Koreans. Some people eat spicy food, for example, Kimchi(fermented Chinese cabbage with chili garlic and many other ingredients…the most important dish for Korean cuisine – at least, in the sense of its symbolic value) even for breakfast.
So it was time to make something spicy! But my breakfast was something usual, maybe a little bit in unhealthier version – whole wheat bread, white bean spread, home made marmelade, soy latte, apple and some cucumber…wow, now I’m realizing that I had a big breakfast!
When I lived in Korea, I don’t think I ever made Gimbab(Algae Rice Roll, in Korean, Gim 김 means algae and Bab 밥 means cooked rice). At least, I don’t have any memory that I made it by myself. When I was young, Gimbab was something pretty special that we used to it only for school picnic days , so something like twice a year but well, thanks to women laborers from China, there are so many Gimbab shops nowadays where you can get a whole roll for 1 or 2 euros. And thanks to the invention of other type of Gimbab – I mean the triangular type which is called Samgakgimbab(삼각김밥) in Korea, it has become a favourite snack for many people or even a main meal especially for the poor or for those who need something quick.
Despite of this change in consuming pattern of Gimbab, when I eat Gimbab, the first memory comes to my mind is my highschool friend Soyoung and those mondays that we used to go back to my place around 5pm for one hour dinner break from school and shared Gimbab together. That one hour dinner break was like a heaven for me during those days, while I was spending literally whole my day at school from 7 30 am till 11 pm (or was it 11 30 pm?).
Well, let’s go back to the recipe now. I just wanted to say that although Gimbab is so cheap thesedays in Korea, making Gimbab is not that simple. You don’t need that much of technic – just some if you want to make a pretty one – but you need to prepare many ingredients separately so it takes time. I don’t think t’s worth making it for one portion.
So I ended up making 5 Gimbab rolls and 2 Triangular Gimbabs. Too much once again but they were delicious!
Ingredients 1 – must have items: Sticky rice (round rice), Algae sheets, Sesame oil, Sesame, Vinegar, salt
Ingredients 2 – you can vary this part, depending on what you have : Carrot, Cucumber, Spinach, Seasoned yellow raddish (I didn’t have this one at hand, so I just omitted it but many people believe that this is the essential ingredient for Gimbab)
Ingredients 3 – these ingredients are not normally used but I wanted to make something spicy so I came up with the idea of adding minced soy meat with Korean Chili sauce(고추장) and to add some creamy flavour, added some sliced avocado for a few rolls. (not for all rolls)
How to make Gimbab
1. Cook rice
2. Prepare all the vegetable ingredients separately. For carrot, I sliced them thinly then I roasted them with a little bit of canola oil and seasoned with salt. For spinach, I cooked fresh one in water for 3 minutes and seasoned with salt and sesame oil. For cucumber, I soaked the sliced cucumber in salty water for about 30 mins. Avocado was easy, I just sliced it and that was it.
4. Prepare an algae sheet and coat it slightly with sesame oil.
5. Put rice and all the ingredients.
6. Roll it!
7. Slice it with a sharp knife. You’d better use the sharpest one that you have at home!