Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kinda Sushi, Kinda Kimbap, but Definitely Rice in Seaweed

Ok, finals are over, summer is here, and a large number of my friends have started getting on my case about updating (thank you friends!). How is everyone's summer so far?

Let's get started! I've had the grocery store variety of sushi and I found it delicious. Rice, cucumbers, carrots, and avocado all wrapped up in strips of seaweed. However, it wasn't until my wonderful hosts in San Francisco introduced me to real sushi that I understood just how complicated sushi and its culture are. While I'm learning more about all things sushi (for starters try The Nibble's Sushi Glossary), at heart I am still in love with those veggies.

Which is why this version is probably more aptly called kimbap. Kimbap is a Korean version of sushi which normally is filled with vegetables such as cucumber, carrot, spinach, and pickled radish. Often it will also have skirt steak called bulgogi and/or strips of egg.

For this recipe you will need:

~ Rice
~ Sushi nori or other seaweed (sometimes it's hard to figure out which seaweeds work, especially taste-wise, for sushi, my hint is to see if the back of the seaweed bag has a sushi recipe. Those which do, usually work pretty well.)
~ Vegetables of choice; for this I used carrots and cucumbers
~ Protein of choice; I used egg
~ Sesame oil and/or rice vinegar
~ Soy sauce and wasabi paste

To cook the rice The trick with sushi rice is that it needs to be sticky without being mushy. In the microwave this is a bit hard to get down pat. However, try starting out with about a cup of rice in a microwavable bowl, add enough water so that there is a about 3/4 inch on top. Microwave on high for 2 more minutes, stir and let the water and rice settle. Repeat this process until the rice is tender, and all of water is absorbed. Add a little LITTLE bit of your sesame oil and/or rice vinegar to the rice and mix it in. Put everything to the side and let it cool.

To cut the vegetables The key is long and thin. Japanese food especially is very delicate, so the thinner the vegetable slices the better.

To cook the egg Stir up an egg until the white is mostly broken. Then microwave it in the handy dandy microwave bowl for 1 minute on high. Take out the egg and slice it up into strips.

To assemble You can spread a thin, thin layer of wasabi on the seaweed sheet before adding the rice. Take enough to spread about 1/4 inch of rice on half of the sheet. Spread it out (I use my hands) on half the sheet. Lay out the vegetables and strips of protein along the rice and tightly roll it up until the circle is just complete. Tear off the remaining seaweed leaving about a centimeter of seaweed. Take a bowl of water, dip your finger in it and spread it along the centimeter, then lightly press it on to the roll. If your seaweed tears, don't panic, merely finish rolling it up and then add another seaweed sheet, pressing it lightly to the original roll.

Use a sharp knife to cut the sushi, cleaning the knife on the side of your cutting board after each cut.

Voila! Eat with wasabi and soy sauce or kimchi.

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