From Korea with Love

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How to Make Tasty Tuna Kim Bop

It’s going to be spring soon. Here in Korea, spring is the best time to go on a picnic, and a typical Korean picnic will not be complete without 김밥 (kimbap) in your lunch box. Kimbap is a dish similar to sushi rolls, made from steamed white rice, meat and vegetables that are rolled in dried seaweed. There are many kinds of kimbap, but my favorite is 참치김밥 (chamchi kimbap) or tuna rice rolls.


Last night, I made kimbap for my husband’s midnight snack. I remember the first time I made kimbap was with him. We used to have a cooking project every Sunday, and the first recipe we ever made together was tuna kimbap. We ate our tuna kimbap with some meat and red wine. Delicious! ^^


Making tuna kimbap is very simple, but you might need more time in preparing the dish.

To make tasty tuna kimbap, you will need the following ingredients and materials:

1. a can of tuna

2. yellow pickled radish (You can buy a pack of yellow radish already cut for kimbap in your nearest Korean grocery store.)

3. crab sticks (A pack of 6 pieces will do. If you plan to make more rice rolls, you can cut a piece into two to make a dozen. ^^)

4. ham (You can buy ham for kimbap, but if you have ham for sandwich in your fridge, that will do, too. Just cut them into strips.) (Ham is optional for tuna kimbap. ^^)

5. julienned carrots (If you don’t like carrots, you can use other vegetables like cucumber or 우엉, seasoned burdock roots called ueong in Korea.)

6. 오뎅: fish cake or odeng (cut in strips) (There are odeng sticks for kimbap, but I like to use the one for making odeng soup, because it’s tastier.)

7. 2 eggs (salted and beaten)

8. sesame leaves (optional)

9. mayonnaise

10. a pack of dried and unsalted 김 for kimbap: seaweed or kim

11. steamed ‘sticky’ rice

12. salt

13. sesame oil

14. sesame seeds

15. bamboo mat

15. tray

16. brush


Here are the procedures:


1. Put 5 or 6 cups of steamed ‘sticky’ rice in a large bowl. Add some salt and a few drops of sesame oil, according to your taste.

2. Mix rice and seasoning thoroughly.

3. Set aside and let the rice cool for a while.


1. Open a can of tuna. Using a strainer, drain the oil.

2. Put the tuna flakes in a bowl. Add mayonnaise and salt, according to your taste. (I like mayo, so I put A LOT in my tuna. ^^) Some people like tuna cooked. You can cook the tuna for a minute or two with a little sesame oil, minced garlic, chopped onions, salt and pepper.

3. Set aside. (If you decided to cook the tuna, let it cool for a while.)


1. Saute ham, sliced fish cake and carrots in butter or oil.

2. Whisk eggs until yellow, add some salt and fry into an omelet. After cooking, cut the eggs into strips.

3. Remove water from the yellow pickled radish.

4. Remove crab sticks from their cellophane/wrap. If they are thicker or bigger, cut them into two, lengthwise.

5. In a large tray or a big plate, place all the ingredients.

6. Wash the sesame leaves and put them in a strainer to get rid of the water. They should be dry when you use them later.

7. Pour some sesame oil into a small bowl.

8. Make sure that you have cleaned your bamboo mat and brush before using them.

9. It would be better to have another large tray where you will make and roll kimbap.

Now let’s make tuna kimbap! ^^

1. Lay a sheet of dried and unsalted seaweed on the bamboo mat. (The shiny side of the seaweed should be facing down.)

2. Spread rice evenly onto the center of the seaweed. (You can moisten your fingers with a little sesame oil or water, so the rice won’t stick to your fingers and make a mess… or you can use disposable plastic gloves.)


3. Place each of the ingredients on top of the rice: ham, fish cake, crab stick, egg, yellow pickled radish and two julienned carrots.


3. Lay two sesame leaves on top of the vegetables and meat added earlier.

4. Spread tuna onto the sesame leaves.




4. Roll the seaweed with the rice and other ingredients from the bottom using the bamboo mat. Gently press down as you roll to make the fillings stay in place.


5. Using a brush, dab a little sesame oil (or water) along the fold to hold the roll together.

6. Tadaaah! Don’t they look appetizing? You can sprinkle some sesame seeds onto the rolls.



…or if you are a ‘mayo-holic’ like me, you can put some mayo on top of your kimbap… yum-yum! ^^


7. My husband and I like to eat our kimbap whole, but if you are going on a picnic, of course, you will have to cut your kimbap. To make cutting easy, wet a paper towel with sesame oil or water and wipe the knife with it before cutting the rolls.


The one on the left is tuna kimbap; on the right is ham and cheese kimbap. I made these last week. ^^


How to Make Your Own ‘Crispy Gim’

My husband loves gim (김), Korean laver or seaweed. He prefers it roasted. We usually buy Korean roasted seaweeds in boxes, because those in packs don’t last a week. Last month, Omonim bought bundles of dry unsalted seaweeds, the ones that are not toasted yet. She said they are more delicious than the roasted seaweeds sold in the market or grocery store. She taught me how to season and roast the seaweeds.


To make your own roasted seaweed snack, you will need large sheets of dry unsalted seaweed, salt, sesame oil, a brush and a non-stick pan (or any pan will do).

1 modified

There are two ways you can follow. You can spread sesame oil on one side of the seaweed using a brush, and then sprinkle some salt onto it, or you can mix the sesame oil and salt first (like what I did), and spread the mixture evenly on one side of the seaweed. (I mixed the oil and salt, because it’s faster that way.)

Put the pan on medium heat. When it’s hot enough, place the sheet of seaweed on the pan, and pat it with a frying ladle, so that the seaweed roasts thoroughly. You will know that the seaweed is roasted once the color turns light green.



Cut the sheets of roasted seaweed into smaller pieces using a pair of scissors. (It would be hard to use a knife.)



Finally, enjoy your roasted seaweed as a snack or with rice.

I’m telling you, home-made is better, because the 김 is crispier and tastier. Roasted 김 is also a nutritious low-fat snack. A 6 g serving is equivalent to 25 calories, whereas a bag of chips is around 150 to 180 calories. My family, especially my little nephew Dei-dei, loves 김, so every time Khan and I go to the Philippines, we bring a box of roasted seaweeds. Next time, I’m going to bring the dry unsalted ones and teach Mommy how to make delicious ‘crispy gim’. ^^