Traditional Korean Fish Cake Kimbap
Kimbap may not be one of the most glamorous dishes Korean cuisine has to offer, but it holds a special place as a food that nearly every Korean grows up knowing. It is simple, portable, easy to make, good to share and undeniably delicious. Eaten almost anytime of the day and alongside nearly any food, kimbap is a core component of everyday Korean cuisine. Its exact origins are contested, but the modern version is based on the traditional method of rolling bap (booked rice) with banchan (assorted side dishes) in toasted gim (laver). For this rendition we will be making a traditional and simple version of the dish focusing on another staple Korean food, fish cake.
- 1 Pack of Fish Cake (Need 2 sheets, store remainder)
- 1 Carrot, sliced into matchsticks
- 1 Cucumber, seeded
- 1 Pack of Imitation Crab Meat Stick (Need two sticks, store remainder)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Pack Pickled Yellow Radish * 1 sliced wedge for each roll of kimbap
- Sesame Oil
- Soy Sauce
- Sugar, Salt, Cooking Oil
- ≈ 4 Sheets Roasted Laver for Kimbap
- 420g Cooked White Rice, 2 packs [Ottogi] Cooked Rice
- Gimbal (Bamboo rolling mat) **Optional
- Seed cucumber and slice into ≈ .5cm wide wedges the length of the roasted laver. Salt the cucumber liberally and rinse the salt off before rolling. If not pre-sliced, slice pickled radish into similar shaped wedges.
- Prepare plane white rice: cook two packs of Ottogi Rice in the microwave for the time stated on the package. When cooled slightly mix with 2 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp salt and 1 Tsp Roasted Sesame Seeds. *If using fresh rice, cook with slightly more water so it is stickier. Let cool before rolling.
- Stir fry the fish cake for 3-4 minutes in cooking oil. While cooking add 1 Tsp of sugar and 2 Tbsp of soy sauce. Right before removing from heat, add 1 Tsp of sesame oil.
- Mix eggs and cook in very thin sheets, like a krepe. Slice into long strips about 1 cm wide.
- Slice the carrots into matchsticks and finely chop garlic. In a pan, heat 1 spoon cooking oil and 1 spoon sesame oil. Add the chopped garlic and cook until brown, then add carrots, 1 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tsp salt. Cook 2-4 minutes and let cool before rolling.
- On a clean cutting board or gimbal, lay down a single sheet of roasted laver with the rough side facing up.
- Place one small handful (≈100 grams) of cooked, seasoned rice on the bottom of laver. Gently and evenly spread the rice to cover the bottom half of the laver.
- In the center of the rice, begin laying ingredients. Start with the long wedge of radish, cucumber and crab stick on the bottom and then add the egg, carrots and fishcake in even portions. Don’t worry if ingredients stick out past the end of the roll and there is no need to be precise portioning.
- Spread a small amount of sesame oil on the top of the laver sheet to help seal the kimbap. Tightly roll, careful not to create any cracks in the sheet. Repeat until all ingredients are used, makes ≈ 4 rolls.
- Coat a knife with sesame oil (to prevent sticking) and evenly slice each kimbap roll into 8-10 pieces. Top with some extra roasted sesame seeds and serve. If eating later or traveling, tightly wrap sliced kimbap roll in foil or stack in a container.
Kimbap is very versatile, it is possible to use almost any vegetable or other ingredients you have on hand. Do not worry about making substitutions or getting creative with flavor combinations!
Everything except for the rice can be made ahead of time and store in the fridge. This recipe will make a minimum of 4 rolls, however, simply make extra rolls to share with leftover ingredients.