Kimbap is the Korean version of sushi, and these seaweed and rice rolls have a bright and slightly nutty flavor that is perfect for summer.
Did you know July is National Picnic Month?
When the weather gets warm, we love packing up our picnic basket and heading out for a meal outdoors. We love picnic spreads that let us sit back and relax while nibbling on small bites, finger foods, and snacks. You’ll quite often find us with a chunk of cheese, some fresh fruit and veggies, a baguette, and, of course, some wine. While we have no qualms popping a full bottle for the two of us, we love that Gallo Family Vineyards wine comes in single serving bottles that are perfect for packing for a picnic. The small size means we don’t have to worry about re-corking a bottle (if there’s any left) and, if we’re picnicking with a group, everyone can bring along the wine they like best without the picnic basket becoming a portable wine cellar.
As much as we love our bread and cheese picnics, sometimes we’re craving a bit more substance or we just want to mix things up a bit. That’s where kimbap (pronounced keem-bahp) comes in.
Kimbap vs Sushi
We call this Korean ‘sushi,’ because, you have to admit, it looks like sushi. But, there are some crucial differences between kimbap (or gimbap) and sushi.
Kim or gim means ‘dried seaweed’ in Korean and bap or bop means ‘rice.’ So, your basics of both rolls are the same: seaweed, rice, and filling.
In traditional Japanese sushi, the rice is seasoned with rice vinegar and fillings are commonly a type of raw seafood (tuna, salmon, yellowtail).
Korean kimbap (sometimes written gimbap), on the other hand, uses rice that is seasoned with sesame oil and a pinch of salt, giving it a smooth, nutty flavor. The rolls are filled with a variety of cooked fillings, from vegetables, to eggs, even bulgogi or ham and cheese. Nearly anything goes! Kimbap are typically cut in smaller, bite-sized slices, making them a perfect picnic or snacking finger food.
Another nice thing about these rolls is that the oil mixed with the rice helps to keep it from drying out. Which means that these rolls can be made up to a day ahead of time and refrigerated until it’s picnic time.
Feel free to get creative with your kimbap fillings. Today we’re featuring one of the classic combinations: eggs, carrot, and spinach. But, these rolls are the perfect way to use up any leftovers in your refrigerator.
Combinations to try:
- Kimchi (Our friends Culinary Adventures of Camilla have a great recipe for homemade kimchi.)
- Ham and cheese
- Cucumber and crab
- Tuna and avocado
- Bulgogi and sliced red pepper
We paired our kimbap with Gallo Family Vineyards White Zinfandel, a wine with an effervescence and slight sweetness that make it perfectly refreshing for a summer picnic. The White Zinfandel has a lightness that would pair beautifully with any of the fillings we listed above, but it would be quite the perfect complement to the spiciness of a kimchi kimbap. For a less sweet wine pairing, we would recommend their Pinot Grigio, another light wine, perfect for sipping while you snack on these rolls.
Be sure to find out where to pick up a bottle your favorite Gallo Family Vineyards wine by heading over to their Store Locator. And, you can stay up to date on all the Gallo Family Vineyard wine news through their social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
- Bamboo sushi rolling mat (Find it here.)
- 1 c dry white rice, medium grain (or 2 c cooked rice)
- 1 ½ tsp sesame oil, divided (Find it here.)
- ¾ tsp salt, divided
- 4 sheets of roasted seaweed (also called gim, nori, or laver) (Find it here.)
- 3 eggs
- 1 carrot, julienned into matchsticks
- 3 handfuls of spinach (Swiss chard, kale, or other dark leafy green), chopped
- Place 1 c dry rice in a medium saucepan and add water according to the package instructions. (We typically use approximately 1 ½ c water to 1 c dry.) Cover the rice and bring it to a simmer. Simmer, covered until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 15-20 min. Remove the rice from the heat and mix in 1 tsp sesame oil and ½ tsp salt. Cover the rice and let stand for 10 minutes to finish steaming and cool.
- While the rice is cooking and cooling, prepare your filling ingredients. Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. Drizzle a little sesame oil into an 8 inch (or thereabouts) skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat. Pour the beaten egg into the hot skillet and reduce the heat to low/medium-low. Cover the skillet and cook until the top of the egg is dry and puffy, 6-8 min. Transfer the omelet onto a cutting board and slice into ½ inch strips. Let cool.
- Add another drizzle of oil to the skillet. Add the julienned carrot and a pinch of salt. Sauté the carrots over high heat until lightly golden, 2-3 min. Transfer the carrots onto a plate and set aside.
- Add a bit more oil to the, now empty, pan and add the chopped spinach and another pinch of salt. Sauté over medium high heat until the spinach wilts 2-3 minutes. Remove the wilted spinach to a paper-towel lined plate to soak up any excess moisture.
- Place a sheet of seaweed on your sushi rolling mat. Spread rice over ⅔ of the seaweed, about ¼ inch thick, leaving the ⅓ of the seaweed furthest from you bare. Place the filling ingredients in a line in the middle of the rice.
- Start rolling the kimbap by using the mat to gently fold the section of rice closest to you over the filling ingredients. Tuck the edge of the seaweed into what will become the center of the roll as you continue rolling, pulling the mat away from you and pressing firmly. Once you have rolled up all the seaweed, keep the roll wrapped in the mat and squeeze it gently but firmly to create a solid roll.
- Remove the roll from the mat and place it on a cutting board. Cut the roll into ½ inch thick slices. For a picnic, pack the kimbap pieces tightly into a hard-sided, seal-able container, using wax paper between the layers if necessary.
- Kimbap is best eaten within 6-12 hours, but will keep well up to 24 hours, sealed in the refrigerator.
Today’s Sunday Supper crew has all the inspiration you need for a fabulous summer picnic!
- 10 Deviled Egg Variations by Sunday Supper Movement
- Thai Spiced Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce by Soni’s Food
Picnic Main Dishes:
- Baked or Grilled Tandoori Chicken Legs by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- BBQ Pulled Pork Picnic Sandwiches by Family Foodie
- Creamy Pesto Chicken Sandwiches by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- French Ham and Butter Sandwich (Jambon Buerre) by Shockingly Delicious
- Grilled Honey Chicken Kabobs by Life Tastes Good
- Italian Hoagie Style Pressed Picnic Sandwiches by Feed Me, Seymour
- Kimbap (Korean ‘Sushi’) by Curious Cuisiniere
- Picnic Sandwich Torte by Palatable Pastime
Picnic Salads and Sides:
- BLT Panzanella Salad by Casa de Crews
- Cold Chinese Peanut Noodles by Recipes Food and Cooking
- Lemon Chicken Penne Salad by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Mason Jar Salmon Nicoise Salad by Simply Healthy Family
Picnic Sweets and Desserts:
- Banana Pudding Cups by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Blueberry Crumb Bars by Alida’s Kitchen
- Blueberry Peach Snack Cake by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Key Lime Cheesecake Crumb Bars by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Lemon Meringue Pie in a Jar by Desserts Required
- Simple Strawberry Pie by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Southern Fried Apricot Hand Pies by Magnolia Days
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.