Again, not authentic, but still very tasty, given I was just rumaging around in my pantry & fridge for potential filling ingredients for the kimbap rolls.
I’ve been craving sushi for a few days now, but the weather here in Calgary has not been condusive to going out and about — Mother Nature is not letting us have spring. With every nice day we have which melts the already ridiculous amounts of snow, another snowstorm soon follows.
I have to admit, I am a wuss and don’t really trust that the sushi or sashimi grade fish which might be available from the fishmonger is actually safe enough for me to make my own sushi or chirashi bowls at home, since I am immuno-compromised.
Ordinarily, if I’ve planned in advance, I would happily make myself a few California rolls (NO EVIL MAYO!!) and my sushi cravings on the cheap would be more or less fulfilled, but since I’ve been cooped up all week in the house there’s nothing in the fake crab, avocado & cucumber department in the house, I’ve have had to make do.
The Korean version of a sushi roll* is called kimbap, and compared to the Japanese rolls, these have fillings which are all cooked or pickled. No raw fish in these, babies! There are all sorts of fillings that you can put into your kimbap and I’m pretty sure that whatever your heart desires can be a perfectly acceptable filling. One filling combination for kimbap that I’ve seen, consists of: egg sheet, fake crab, pickled radish, ham & cucumber all rolled up with seasoned, vinegared rice and then is lightly brushed with sesame oil just before cutting into bite-sized pieces.
I like kimbap. It’s a lot heartier with all the filling ingredients, and it feels a lot less “stuffy” than a homemade California roll, but still just as satisying to eat. I especially like that it tastes best at room temperature and is perfect for lunches or picnics where refrigeration is not needed or recommended. Cold rice =/= Good Eats!
(Note: “sushi roll” is just the generic name I give all rolls which consist of rice and filling, regardless of its content.)
Since I haven’t been grocery shopping in awhile, the filling I used for my kimbap was pretty meagre compared to a traditional roll… and I am a might bit embarassed about divulging what I actually put inside mine: fried spam & homemade sweet pickles. Ya. Rly.
The combination is surprisingly awesome. The saltiness of the fried spam (low fat, if any one should care), paired with the crunch and sweetness of the pickles was actually really fantastic against the seasoned, vinegared rice and sesame-flavoured nori.
Experiment to your heart’s content and use whatever filling you want, I am pretty sure you can’t ever go wrong with kimbap.
1 cup rice, rinsed and soaked for 20-30 minutes
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 can spam
Cook soaked rice and transfer to a bowl to cool.
In a microwave safe cup combine vinegar, salt & sugar. Heat for 30 seconds and stir the mixture until everything dissolves.
Pour vinegar over rice and mix until all grains are well coated. Set aside to cool while preparing filling ingredients.
Cut spam in half horizontally and each piece into long thirds so you get thick strips of spam.
Over medium heat, dry fry the spam until golden brown and slightly crispy on all sides. When cooked, remove from heat to cool sightly.
Slice pickles, if needed.
To assemble kimbap:
Lay a sheet of nori on your work surface and spread 1/3 of your rice in the middle, leaving about 1″ of space at the top and bottom, uncovered with rice.
Sprinkle rice with sesame seeds.
Lay two strips of spam on top of rice, lengthwise, then the pickles.
Tightly roll the nori, trying not to lose too much filling at the ends.
Set finished kimbap aside on a plate, seam-side down.
Repeat, making 2 more kimbap rolls with remaining rice and spam.
When you’ve finished rolling all your kimbaps, lightly coat each roll with sesame oil.
With a very sharp knife, cut each kimbap into pieces before serving.