Wednesday, April 25, 2012

KOREAN RECIPES: Korean Burdock Root Dishes (3)

3.  Dried Seaweed Rolls with Korean Burdock Roots (Ueong Gimbap, 우엉김밥)

Colorful Gimbap moons served with Ggakdugi (Korean white radish Kimchi)

Gimbap (김밥), dried seaweed rolls, means so much more to many Koreans than just food.  Personally, for me, nothing epitomizes the idea of a perfect school picnic or conjures up my fond memories of childhood outdoor family gatherings like Gimbap.  Even now, when I think of Gimbap, or when I hear someone say the word “Gimbap” in any context, or when I smell the dish’s unique aroma, a pungent odor of dried seaweed mixed with sesame seed oil, it still makes my heart go aflutter as if I was a little kid again all excited the night before the school picnic; or it makes me feel like I'm hearing my mom, beautiful and young again, chopping on wooden cutting board on the early morning of the school picnic.

Besides being the epitome of Korean picnic food, Gimbap, along with Ddeokboggi (떡볶이) and Sundae (순대, Picture), is the most common and popular snack or fast food for lunch in Korea.  Just like Japchae or Bibimbap, the dish comes with a rainbow of vegetables; all these three dishes use similar types of vegetables prepared and cooked in similar ways – julienned (thinly sliced) and sautéd (stir fried).  Today, I’ll introduce you to Ueong Gimbap (우엉김밥, “Dried Seaweed Rolls with Korean Burdock Roots”).  In this ovo-vegetarian recipe, you’ll use burdock roots, eggs, carrots, cucumbers, pickled Daikon radish, Dubu (aka, tofu), and Pyogo mushrooms. If you prefer, you may of course add some meat (either chicken breasts or beef sirloin) to the dish or substitute for Dubu (tofu). 

INGREDIENTS:  ● 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
     (4 rolls)        ● ½ LB Ueong Jorim (Braised Korean burdock roots)
                            (Click for the recipe.) 
                         ● 5 dried (or fresh) Pyogo* mushrooms, reconstituted and sliced
                         ● 2 baby cucumbers, julienned
                         ● ½ LB beef sirloin, sliced (optional)
                         ● 2 eggs, beaten with pinch of salt to taste
                         ● 1 package (18 oz.) extra firm Dubu (tofu), drained**
                          4 strips of pickled Daikon radish*
                         ● 2 cups short grain white rice
                         ● 4 sheets of Gim (aka, Nori, dried seaweed)*
                         ● sesame seed oil
                         ● toasted sesame seeds

                         [Seasoning for Dubu]
                         ● 1 TBSP soy sauce
                         ● 1 TBSP brown or dark brown sugar
                         ● 1 TBSP water
                         ● 1 TBSP sesame seed oil

                         [Seasoning for Pyogo mushrooms]
                         ● 1 TBSP soy sauce
                         ● 1 TBSP brown or dark brown sugar
                         ● 1 TBSP water
                         ● 1 TBSP sesame seed oil

                         [Seasoning for beef sirloin]                                     
                         ● 1 TBSP soy sauce
                         ● 1 TBSP brown or dark brown sugar
                         ● 1 TBSP water
                         ● 1 tsp minced garlic
                         ● 1 TBSP sesame seed oil
                         ● ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds
                         ● ground black pepper to taste

                         * You can find the ingredients in your local Korean markets.
                        ** You can substitute (or just add) thinly sliced beef sirloin for Dubu.


1.  Julienne a carrot and cucumbers (2~2.5” lengths).  Before you julienne cucumbers, cut each in halves width wise, then slice thin slices lengthwise down the cucumber using a knife or a vegetable peeler.

Baby cucumbers
A step-by-step how to
julienne cucumbers

2.  Cut just a quarter of the tofu horizontally (slicing parallel to work surface) and drain.

3.  Crack open two eggs in a small mixing bowl and beat with a pinch of salt.


1.  Place a large frying pan over medium heat and pour enough grape seed oil to generously coat the pan.  Sauté cucumbers and carrots separately with a pinch of salt to taste.   Remove from heat and transfer into a plate.  Let cool.
2.  Sauté the Pyogo mushroom slices. Pour seasoning over sautéd mushrooms and braise until lightly caramelized. Remove from heat and transfer into the plate.  Let cool.
3.  Sauté Dubu (tofu) until both sides are golden brown. Pour seasoning over sautéd Dubu and braise until both sides are nicely caramelized. Remove from heat and transfer into the plate.  Let cool.  Cut into eighth lengthwise.

 Sauté Dubu (tofu) until both sides are golden brown.
Braise until both sides are nicely caramelized.

4.  Pour the egg mixture in the pan and spread over the surface. Cook it until half done and roll the egg toward the bottom side.  Remove from heat and transfer into the plate.  Let cool.  Cut into quarters lengthwise.

Roll the egg toward the bottom side.
Cut into quarters lengthwise.

5.  In case you use beef meat, add I TBSP grape seed oil in the frying pan and stir fry the marinated beef over medium-high heat until fully cooked. Remove from heat and transfer into the plate.  Let cool.

Gimbap fillings are ready.  Pyogo mushrooms and beef meat are minused here.

6.  Mix cooked rice very carefully and gently with 1 TBSP of sesame seed oil, ½ tsp of salt, and 1 TBSP of toasted sesame seeds.


1.  Place a sheet of Gim (Nori, dried seaweed) on Gimbal (bamboo rolling mat) with the rough side facing upwards.

2.  Spread about a half cup of seasoned rice, creating a layer of rice covering almost the entire sheet leaving about 1½ inch of margin uncovered at the top.
3.  Place a generous portion of each filling horizontally across the middle of the rice layer.

4.  Lift up the closer edge of Gim and Gimbal altogether and roll forward.  Make sure to cover the entire filling at first roll(ing) and to lift the end of the mat so it doesn’t get tangled into the roll.  As you roll forward, keep the mat tight with every move until you reach the end of Gim.  Voilà!  Now you have a cylinder-shaped Gimbap.  (Once you get used to rolling, it'll take just two moves to complete a roll: The first rolling will cover the entire filling and the second rolling will create a cylinder.)
5.  Slice the roll into about ½ inch circles using a wet, sharp knife, yielding about 6 to 8 circles per roll.  You’d better wipe and wet the knife per half a roll or even per every cut.  (Let all your rolls sit for awhile before cutting (about 5 minutes), with seals facing downwards. This makes it easier to cut the roll as the moisture from the rice softens the seaweed.)

A rainbow of vegetables (and eggs) in Gimbap moons


  1. This looks very nice, great job Onsemiro! I ate some when I'm at Korean restaurants, but there are so many things to prepare! Daunting but I might try it. Are the dufu/tofu hard ones or the soft ones?

  2. Thanks, Wahyimo. It may seem overwhelmingly hard to make Gimbap, but once you get the ball rolling, it'll get much easier.

    We have roughly three types of Dubu (Tofu) - soft ones are usually for soups, firm ones are for stir-fried dishes, and extra firm ones are for dumpling or Gimbap fillings.

    If it's still to even think about making one, just go without Dubu and Ueong: Substitute chicken breasts instead.

  3. There's a word omitted: If it's still "HARD" to even think about making one

  4. Onsemiro, i see that dried seaweed is used with this dish. I've read several blogs about the benefits of brown seaweed being used as a means to detox the body, and remove moles. Have you read the same thing? I'd like to know what you've heard(seen) concerning this topic.

  5. kpopantz, only one sheet of dried seaweed (Gim) contains a chock full of protein, carb, and vitamins (especially B1 and B2). It is also rich in dietary fibers (30 times more than oranges and 16 times more than lettuce) that helps remove (=detoxify)the cancer-causing agents from our body. Porphyran is one of those dietary fibers that is really rich in Gim and prevent colon and stomach cancer. :)


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