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Even Healthier Sushi | Kimbab : wlw #5

11 February 2014 4 comments

I. Love. Sushi. 

And it's Korean cousin Gimbab/Kimbab possibly even more so, which has less of the raw fish, more of the multitude of vegetables and meats. The girls and I went out for sushi last week and I've been craving it again, so I decided to rustle some up last night, the recipe and know-how of which I shall now share with you!

Both sushi and gimbab are pretty healthy already but brown rice, raw veggies and avocado up the health-credentials without even hinting 'diet food'. This recipe involves a fair amount of prep, or mise en place, and has what looks like a very long of ingredients, but such little cooking that it's more of an assembly than a recipe. I like to make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for snaffling later, it'll last a couple of days.

For the rice/outer, you will need:

♥ Sushi seaweed (Nori in Japanese, Gim in Korean; this comes in sheets and is readily available)
♥ 100g each of brown and sticky white rice. (I'm using Korean sticky white rice and Tilda's microwave wholegrain basmati: if you use all brown, it'll fall apart!)
♥ A teaspoon of sesame oil, vinegar (any vinegar will do, I'm using cold pressed Apple Cider Vinegar) and toasted sesame seeds. (If at all possible, get the brown ones as they taste nicer! If not don't worry, you can get white sesame seeds anywhere.)

The fillings are totally up to you, and you can really add whatever you feel like in whatever quantity you like - its more by eye than measured. I'll be doing a California Hand Roll in the style of Yo Sushi and a traditional Korean Vegetarian Gimbab.

For the California Hand Roll, you will need: 

♥ Sliced avocado
♥ Around 6-7 seafood sticks (You can substitute for raw salmon or tuna but make sure it's super fresh)
♥ A tablespoon of mayonnaise (I'm using Hellmann's Lighter-than-Light to keep the calories down, but Yo Sushi use something like Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise which you can easily pick up)
♥ Pepper for seasoning

For the Vegetable Gimbab, you will need:

♥ A small carrot
♥ A 6cm section of cucumber
♥ Pickled daikon radish (If you can't get this, I'll share some alternatives down below)
♥ 1 or 2 medium eggs
♥ A handful of spinach
♥ Toasted sesame seeds
♥ A dash of soy sauce and sesame oil

Ok, I know that seems long but bear with me! After you've got everything together, the cooking is easy. 

Let's start off with the rice.

Toast off your sesame seeds (around a tablespoon in total) in a dry pan until they start to pop and jump about, empty out into a pestle and mortar and give them a little grind to release the oils and flavour.

Cook your rice according to the instructions, tip out into a bowl and leave to cool. Add the vinegar, sesame oil and around a tsp of the sesame seeds to the rice, mix and set aside: rice done.

For the gimbab, blanch the spinach for a few seconds, drain off the water and add a dash of sesame oil, soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. 
Julienne the cucumber, carrot and daikon, ideally, as thin as you can but realistically, whatever you can do! If you can't get hold of daikon, you can make your own pickle by adding the cucumber or carrot into a mixture of vinegar, sugar and a little salt. Alternatively, you can use little baby cornichons.

Whisk up the egg and dry fry in a nonstick pan on a medium hear for minimal colour. Roll it up and slice into little strips.

For the california hand roll, cut each seafood stick in half, shred, mix with the mayonnaise and season with pepper. Slice up the avocado. 

And that's the cooking and prep all done, time to make some sushi!

If you're making traditional sushi (a maki roll), you'll most probably need a sushi rolling mat. Arrange your ingredients like the above photo, roll and slice!

If you don't have a sushi mat, hand rolls are perfect.

Take a sheet of seaweed and cut into two. Spread a thin layer of rice onto the right half and lay on the filling diagonally, from the center to top right corner. (Crucial that you do it in this arrangement for it all to roll up nicely!)
Take the bottom corner and fold up and across, then carry on rolling round until you get a cone shape.

And ta-da!
I served mine with a kelp and courgette broth and some soy sauce for dipping. At around 400 calories for 2 handrolls and a maki roll, this delicious, healthy sushi is full of wholesome, antioxidant-filled ingredients that really hit the spot!