Kimbap – a maki-like dish involving steamed rice rolled in laver seaweed – is one of those Korean dishes that most Filipinos are totally unaware of because they usually have their sights set on the usual suspects: bulgogi, Korean beef stew, sauteed beansprouts, and kimchi.
A throwback to the time of the Japanese Occupation, it is one of those things Korean housewives and mothers prepare for picnics or lunches taken to school or work. It is highly portable and leaves the cook with a lot of room for creativity.
That both kimbap and maki involve rice rolled up in nori is one thing, but there are numerous differences. Makizushi (as maki is formally called) is filled with shari – sweet-vinegared rice. Kimbap, on the other hand, is simpler as it calls for plain rice or rice lightly seasoned with a bit of salt.
Wikipedia has this to say about the sort of ingredients you can throw into a selection of kimbap:
The most basic component of gimbap [sic] is rice. From there, you can find many variations on the filling, including fish, meat, eggs, and vegetables, whether pickled, roasted, or fresh.
Traditionally, the rice is lightly seasoned with salt and sesame oil/perilla oil. Popular protein ingredients are fish cakes, imitation crab meat, eggs and/or seasoned beef rib-eye. Vegetables usually include cucumbers, spinach, carrots and danmuji (pickled radish).
Now, you may ask “What’s gotten into her that she’s gone and fixed kimbap today?” The notion actually began because my mother spent most of last night making futo maki for my father’s meeting later today. She had a lot of nori leftover and suggested that my sister and I get creative with it so it wouldn’t go to waste.
So when I went into the kitchen this morning and saw the pot of leftover rice on the hob, I had a notion…
There was some leftover corned beef hash in the fridge, along with a tub of kimchi and a plate of cucumber sticks left from Mom’s futo maki project. This got me to thinking of making a kimbap inspired by the Korean dish budae jjigae which is, essentially, a kimchi-based stew where the main proteins are western canned meats such as frankfurters, luncheon meat, and – yes – corned beef hash.
That said, I got a sheet of the leftover nori and evenly spread some rice over it (about 3/4 of a cup). I placed a cucumber stick smack-dab in the middle and spread the corned beef hash over it. I added some kimchi and carefully rolled the spread-up nori away from me, pressing the roll from time to time to ensure that the ingredients stayed inside the seaweed sheet.
Once the roll was done, I carefully sliced it into eight rolls. Since this was the first time I’ve ever actually made this, only six made it into proper form; the rest were rather misshapen. (Still tasty, though.)
Soon as they were plated up, all I had to do was sprinkle on some proper shoyu (though furikake would also have been nice) – et voila! Breakfast with a Korean touch. ;D