South Korean Gimbap (pronounced Kimbap)
Makes 3 rolls, to be cut into slices.
So, what is Gimbap? Well, it is pronounced kimbap and is often written that way as well. In Korea Gim means seaweed and Bap means rice. So literally seaweed rice.
This may well be North Korean Gimbap too, but I’ve never been there so I don’t know!
However, in 2019 before chaos struck, I did have the privilege of visiting South Korea and soon found a gorgeous little vegan street-food kitchen, where I ate these at every opportunity!
It was the first thing I wanted to try and recreate for my family when I returned home, and the truth is, once you have your nori sheets and sushi rice you can literally put anything inside them at all. I once made them with just avocado inside and that was delicious too!
So whats the difference between these and sushi rolls? The main difference is that you add sesame oil and salt to the rice instead of the vinegar that is used in other cultures, so it’s a different taste although looking the same.
The ingredients I’ve prepared to use today are- crispy tofu, carrots, cucumber, spring onions and enoki mushrooms. The truth is I don’t always like tofu, but that little bit of added crunch in here just seems to work so nicely. Just a heads up, I’m not sure I would use the enoki again, it didn’t actually add much!
The main tip I would give you for making this is just learning to roll, don’t worry if it all goes wrong, just keep practising! As you can see from my pictures, they are perfectly imperfect. Do make the dipping sauce though it’s so easy and is just the right mix of salt, sweet and tang!
1 bamboo rolling mat.
Pot, to cook the rice
Frying pan to cook the tofu and any of the vegetables.
Very sharp knife (most important for cutting your Gimbap)
3 Nori Sheets
250g Sushi Rice
350ml of water
3 tsp of sesame oil
½ tsp salt
3 tbps vegetable oil (for cooking the tofu)
1 small cucumber
200g of firm tofu
1 tbsp of cornflower
2 spring onions
Small bunch of enoki mushrooms
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp hot water (hot to melt the sugar)
4tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar (or any white vinegar)
- Add your rice to the water and bring to the boil, once boiling let simmer for 10 minutes. After this time, you can switch the heat off and with the lid on leave to steam for 15 minutes. You can then add your sesame oil and salt and stir through with a fork ensuring all the rice is covered by the oil and salt.
- Whilst the rice is cooking it is time to prep the tofu. Cut the tofu in centimetre thick long strips. Place a clean towel on a plate and lay out the tofu on top of one half of the towel. Cover the tofu with the other half of the towel and then place another plate on top to allow you to press down evenly, draining as much water as possible out of the tofu.
- Place the cornflower in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper and then cover each tofu strip with the mixture (get a good covering).
- Put a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan and turn up to a medium / high heat.
- Place the tofu strips in the pan, you will want to cook for at least 3-4 minutes on each side, or until you get a golden crunchy looking texture. You might want to use tongs to turn the tofu over. If the tofu sticks initially, your oil may not be high enough, just leave it to cook for a bit longer on that side and it will start to lift on its own.
- Once the tofu is cooked, remove from the frying pan, and leave to one side to cool down.
- Cut cucumber into long thin batons. Slice up the spring onion and separate the enoki mushrooms into smaller clumps.
- For the carrots, you can either cut them into very thin julienne style carrots (that you don’t need to cook) or cut them into half centimetre batons which you will need to fry for about 5 minutes in some oil and a bit of soy sauce for flavour.
- Cook the enoki mushrooms for about one minute only with some oil and soy sauce. They will go a little soggy but place them on a towel to drain.
Now it comes to assembling your Gimbap.
- Put the bamboo rolling mat on flat surface, place a nori sheet on top, shiny side down.
- Make sure the rice has cooled down and then put a thin layer on the sheet, leaving a 2cm space at the far end.
- Place a thin layer of your vegetables and tofu just below the halfway point of the sheet. You do not want to over fill as you won’t be able to roll the sheet over.
- Dip your finger into a little water and wet the top edge of the sheet (just half a centimetre all the way along). This will help your nori paper stick together.
- Lift the edge of the bamboo mat and start to roll your Gimbap. Try and keep it quite tight, but do not let your bamboo mat get caught in the roll. Keep rolling until the end of the mat comes round to the top… DO NOT try to lift your gimbap off the mat beforehand!
- Leave the roll to rest for a few minutes with the join at the bottom.
- Take the sharpest knife you have and slice 4-5cm thick slices.
For the dipping Sauce:-
- Place all the ingredients in a small bowl, give a good stir and you are ready to go!