Saturday, July 16, 2011


One day this week we headed over to one of my amazing husband's coteacher's (Anna) house to learn to make gimbap (or is it kimbap?)  It is amazing to me the way Koreans blend the g/k sounds.

I like gimbap.  Quick break down for ya'll: gim is dried seaweed.  Bap is rice or meal (yes the word for rice and meal is the same in Korean.  I laughed out loud when I learned this.  It is not a meal unless you have rice - so Korean!).  I thought about trying to teach you all the steps to making gimbap.  But you can google it if you want to know in depth.

The finished product!
Okay, I googled for you.  Go here to see a 10 minute video of a cute Korean making gimbap in America (Koreans here do not know what an avocado is!)  or go here to see some pretty pictures.  [Sidenote: the one with the video explains how to make kimchi gimbap at the end. My amazing husband likes kimchi gimbap better than regular gimbap.]

I think making gimbap is more of an idea than an exact recipe.  There are so many varieties!  The following is an overview of what we did.

Cutting up some carrots
There is a lot of prep involved in making gimbap: get your rice cooking, cut up a carrot thinly, saute it.  Cut up some ham, saute it.  Cut up some o-dang, saute it.  Take a couple of eggs fry/scramble them - basically you whisk the egg and then let it spread out all over the pan.  Then cut the fried scrambled egg into long pieces.  Cut some imitation crab into long strips.  Cook spinach, then rinse it water, then squeeze ALL of the water out of it.  Toss the drained spinach with some sesame oil.

Anna added salt to all the above steps.  Not necessary I think, but whatever flips your pancake (or in this case, rolls your gimbap?).

 Put all of your ingredients within arms reach.  Place a piece of dried seaweed on the gimbap bamboo roller thing.  Then spread a layer of rice on top of the dried seaweed.  Personally, I would say to only put rice on about half of the seaweed.  I have heard that street vendors use more rice (rice is cheaper than the other ingredients).

On top of the rice place one of each of the ingredients.  One strip of ham, one strip of egg, one strip of oh-dang, one strip of imitation crab, one strip of spinach, and one strip of pickled radish.

Nice stack of ingredients

Then you get to roll your gimbap.  Koreans are really efficient at this.  I am not.  Actually I am not very good at any steps in making gimbap.  I am okay with that.

Amazing Husband, Anna, and her daughter Na Young

It was fun to watch Anna make gimbap.  She made it look so easy.  Anna's daughter got to try to make some gimbap.  I think the 7 year old and I had about the same level of gimbap-skillz.

Amazing Hubs and Na Young making some gimbap.
After you roll the gimbap, you cut it.  The ends of the rolls are not the best, so they are not included in the plate for serving people.  If you are Norwegian and you are reading this, just think about how the ends of lefsa magically disappear when you are cutting it, same with gimbap.  The ends just disappear...

Notice how the ends are not even, and different ingredients are hanging out of the end?  Cutting the ends off  takes of that problem

I think that is it.  I could eat gimbap everyday!  Gimbap is a really popular street food.  You can buy a roll of gimbap for around 90 cents.  Personally, I think it is waaaaaayyy easier to buy a roll or two of gimbap than to buy all the ingredients, prep everything, and then wash all of the dishes too!  BUT it was so fun to hang out with Anna and her family.  It was a blost to learn how to make gimbap.  And as usual, gimbap tastes better when you make it yourself.  In each bite of gimbap, you get all the ingredients - yum!

Sidenote: If you make gimbap, plan on eating within 24 hours.  It does not keep well, even in the fridge.  

I think that is about it.  If you have any questions, let me know.  I will tell you whatever I know about gimbap!


  1. Alissa,

    You blogged, "Bap is rice or meal (yes the word for rice and meal is the same in Korean. I laughed out loud when I learned this. It is not a meal unless you have rice - so Korean!)."

    So consider this... What must Koreans think of "Give us this day our daily bread"? Do they translate that as "Give us this day our daily bap"?

    (Brother Matt will like that one.)

  2. Uncle Bill,
    I asked my co-teachers about the Lord's Prayer. It took us some translating/chatting, but I think Koreans say something like, "Give us food today". Thanks for asking a great question!