Friday, February 17, 2012

Kim Pop: Korean Sushi Magic

My Korean sister-in-law has introduced so much magic into our lives. But nothing more divine than Kim Pop. You can experiment with the fillings for these sushi rolls. Depending on my mood, I've added avocado, shrimp, imitation crab, salmon, and many other fillings. Below is exactly the way Hyun Joo first made the kim pop when I decided I must know how to make it for myself... oh... with avocado added.

If only I could avoid messing with recipes...

Start by getting some Japanese style roasted seaweed sheets and your bamboo roller. If you don't have a roller, you can technically just use a tea towel, but it's easier to get a nice tight roll if you use the roller, available from any Asian market, and probably from any world market or kitchen specialty store.

Next, you need to prepare the fillings. I start with the sticky rice, since it takes the longest to prepare. The perfect method for making sticky rice, according to Hyun Joo's directions, is as follows.

Put some rice (Calrose is what I use, or you can try a sushi rice) in a rice cooker. I usually add around 3-4 Cups. Soak the rice for about an hour. After you're done soaking the rice, drain off the water, and rinse three or four times until the water runs clear. Then add water to the pan of the rice cooker until it's about 1-2 inches above the rice. I know, this sounds crazy. Place your hand into the bowl of the rice cooker, and put your hand flat on the rice. The water should come up to your knuckles. Inexact? Maybe... but it works.

I've never failed with the hand-measuring technique. You could also make your sticky rice with some more exact directions from a package or research online... But try the Korean method sometime. I love it.

When the rice is finished, drizzle about 1-2 T of sesame oil over the top, and sprinkle lightly with salt, and mix the rice up. This will lightly season the rice.

Next, prepare the other fillings.

Marinated cucumbers:
Slice a cucumber into halves lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, and discard.

Then slice the cucumbers lengthwise into strips. About six strips per half cucumber. Mix marinade out of 1/2 C soy sauce, 1/2 C white vinegar, 2 T sugar, and marinate them in this sauce until you're ready to roll your kim pop.

Sautéed spinach with garlic:

Sauté 2-3 C fresh spinach— preferably, or frozen if that's what you have, with 2 T olive oil and 1 heaping T minced garlic. Frozen spinach is what I had on hand, as you can see from my photo, and it turned out just wonderfully. If you use frozen, you should still use the whole leaf kind, not chopped. It's better for laying out in your sushi roll.

Sauté until spinach leaves are soft and bubbling. Set aside to cool.

Egg strips. You can use the egg, or replace with another protein. I've seen my sister in law use hot dogs. Honest, I swear. I am not a fan of this substitution. I have used shrimp, crab, imitation crab, salmon, and ham. The egg is the original thing I learned to do, so that's what I used this time.

Mix two eggs up in a bowl, and pour into a hot skillet. Cook like an omelet, flipping to cook both sides, and then remove from the pan, and cut into thin strips with a pizza cutter or kitchen shears.

Next shred carrots: approximately 1-2 cups. Sauté the carrots in a frying pan with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil. Drizzle just a little sesame oil over the carrots for flavor, and set aside.

Avocado: Slice into thin strips.

When you're ready to make your sushi rolls, set up a workstation with all the ingredients, and place your bamboo roller over top of a tea towel.

Lay a sheet of seaweed on the bamboo roller, and cover the entire surface with a thin layer of sushi rice.

Then lay your fillings at the near end as pictured below.

Roll up the sushi roll as tightly as you can.

Then roll it up in the bamboo roller, as tightly as you can.

roll the tube back and forth, compressing as much as possible.

Slice the roll with a good knife. I always eat the ends as I'm making my sushi rolls, because they are not very pretty, and don't hold together well. By dinner time, unfortunately, I'm usually full.

Arrange beautifully on a plate. Serve with the leftover cucumber marinade as dipping sauce. Add wasabi as desired. DELICIOUS.

Ingredients List

Sushi rice, or Calrose rice
fresh spinach
minced garlic
olive oil
sesame oil
salt and pepper
eggs or other protein (ham, shrimp, salmon, crab)
soy sauce
white vinegar
roasted seaweed sheets

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