So I think I mentioned that for a couple of Sundays, the people in my small city were getting together by the river for some barbeques. Anyway, on one of these mentioned barbeques, I met this really nice Korean woman who is one year older than me. Her English is AMAZING, she’s a graduate student, and she does free-lance translating. We got to talking and I mentioned how I wanted to learn how to cook Korean food. Come to find out, she loves to cook and is more than willing to teach me. So we set up a time to meet: one day to buy groceries and one day to make the food. She decided on kimbap 김밥 because it’s popular in Korea.
There were way more ingredients than I expected! I also decided that I ought to buy a rice cooker because as anyone who has cooked rice knows…burnt rice on a pot is NO FUN. So in addition to the rice cooker, I had to buy rice (of course). Other ingredients included: kale, dried sea weed, pickled radish, ham, salt, sugar, cucumbers, sesame oil, sliced cheese and carrots. After we talked about what kinds of things I had in my home for cooking….I guess it was more laughing then actual ‘discussion’…we realized I had to buy a mixing bowl, a strainer, and a cutting board. (She gave me a bamboo roll thing so I didn’t need to buy that.)
The next day we met to make the kimbap. The preparation was quite extensive. She laughed at my *fail* job of peeling the cucumber with a knife. No lie-it really was fail. I also tried to slice the cucumber like her…but my attempts were futile and she quickly took over. She just held the cucumber in one hand and did a long cut down the length of it (but only deep enough to the center of the cucumber) and then sliced around so that the middle of the cucumber was unused. Despite my cucumber fail, I think I did a good job chopping up the carrots into little slivers and ‘folding/tearing’ the cheese slices. She threw the carrots into a frying pan to soften them up. The radish, seaweed, and ham come in kimbap prepared packaging, so I didn’t have to mess with them. Oh, and the rice maker did an excellent job of cooking the rice…kale and sugar for flavoring. ^^ All of this preparation took around 45 minutes.
After the preparation we finally got to roll the kimbap! On the flat piece of dried seaweed, you put a layer (just halfway) of rice then add a strip of each topping in the middle of your rice. On the ‘open’ edge of the kimbap she squished a few grains of cooked rice to make it sticky. After rolling it up, you slather it in sesame oil and that’s it!
Again, she did a spectacular job. I tried to emulate her with the second kimbap…but yeah…not only did I not put enough rice, but I also didn’t roll it tight enough. Although my other attempts improved; they were nowhere near her *expert* levels. This became a problem when it was time to slice up the kimbap. Hers were much easier to slice up; mine were….well they were falling apart. LOL. We made ten rolls total and then we took them out to the Sangju University festival (like homecoming) to share with the foreigners. My Korean sister (one of the foreigner’s girlfriends) told me it was really good…but complained to the girl who showed me how to cook it that there was no egg. >.< Everyone else who ate it said it was really good, so I consider it a success. ^_^
On a side note, you can put as much or as little as you want in the kimbap…tuna instead of or in addition to ham and sesame leaves are popular…and also egg.