These nutritious and colorful Korean sushi rolls are simple to make and great for any meal! You may even pack these on a picnic and enjoy the weather outside.
Kimbap or Gimbap is a gluten-free, Korean-style sushi roll commonly stuffed with colorful ingredients including carrots, egg, daikon, and more. It is fun and simple to make, and overall serves as a hearty and healthful meal for anyone. This recipe includes 2 kimbap recipes, both with the same base ingredients, with different protein choices: ham (SPAM) or pan-fried tofu for non-vegetarians and vegetarians, respectively. It’s fun to have a kimbap night and make them together with family or friends, as this is the perfect food for meal prepping.
Kimbap is a cheaper alternative that can satisfy sushi cravings. As I am cautious with consuming raw fish now, I like that the kimbap ingredients are all either pickled or cooked. There’s a lot of freedom when creating the rolls, so I am using ingredients that were simple to find. Some of the ingredients or supplies may need to be purchased in Asian grocery stores. I am including descriptions of the items below:
- Sushi Mat: A sushi mat helps shape the roll and rolls it up tightly so that the ingredients don’t fall out. They are usually made of bamboo and are very durable.
- Danmuji or Korean yellow pickled radish: A sweet pickled daikon that goes well with rice. It is a common ingredient in kimbap. I cannot find a great product online so please check your local Asian grocery store.
- Chinese cooking wine (Michiu): used to add rich flavor to the egg omelette. This is a staple in Chinese cooking, but may be omitted in this recipe if it cannot be found.
- Seaweed (Nori) sheets: Seaweed sheets for sushi or kimbap. The nori is pretty pliable and unsalted.
The kimbap filling ingredients are supposed to have enough flavor so that no extra dipping sauce is needed. It is an ideal dish to meal prep as it lasts several days in the fridge. You may also consider packing some up for a hike or picnic as motivation to spend time outdoors!
Ham and Tofu Kimbap
yield: 3 rolls (8 in. each)
total cook time: 30 min.
- 475 g. or 3 c. cooked white rice
- 14 g. or 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 3 g. or 1 tsp. white sesame seeds
- 1 small cucumber (thinly sliced)
- 3 g. or 3/4 tsp. salt
- 3 g. or 3/4 tsp. sugar
- 170 g. or 1 1/2 c. shredded carrots
- 1 g. or 1/4 tsp. salt
For egg pancake:
- 250 g. or 5 large eggs
- 78 g. or 1/3 c. water
- 2 g. or 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 2 g. or 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 g. or 2 tsp. Chinese cooking wine(Michiu). If you cannot find this, replace with 2 tsp. water.
For ham version:
- 6 thick slices SPAM meat
For tofu version:
- 6 thick slices of firm tofu that has been pressed and dried
- 15 g. or 1 tbsp. katsu sauce
- 5 g. or 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 20 g. or 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 10 g. or 2 tsp. oil to pan fry
- 6 sheets Seaweed (Nori)
- 3 strips pickled yellow daikon
- Combine the rice ingredients and set aside for later use.
- Combine the cucumber ingredients and allow to pickle for at least 15 min. After 15 min, squeeze the cucumbers to remove excess water. The pickles should be crispy and salty now.
- Cook the shredded carrots in a pan over medium heat for 5 min, until they are tender.
- To make the egg pancake, whisk together the egg ingredients. You should get 6-7 pancakes. Stack the pancakes up and roll it up. Thinly slice the roll to yield egg shreds.
- If you are using ham, pan fry the ham on all sides until golden brown.
- If you are using firm tofu, marinade the tofu in katsu sauce and soy sauce for at least 10 min. Coat the tofu in cornstarch and then pan fry in oil over medium heat until browned on all sides.
- Kimbap assembly (Watch video). To assemble the kimbap, press down about 3/4 c. rice on one nori sheet placed over a sushi mat. On another nori sheet, add some egg shreds, carrots, cucumbers, daikon, and ham or tofu. Place edge of the rice nori under the filling nori sheet. Roll up the filling nori tightly, and then roll the rice nori along with the filling nori sheet. Use the sushi mat to help keep the ingredients intact.
- Use an oiled knife to cut the kimbap.
- Repeat this process for the other 2 rolls.
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