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Vegan Kimbap Recipe

| 11/11/2017 | Reply

I love kimbap and making vegan kimbap is one of my favorite things to do. Growing up in San Francisco, I’ve developed an eclectic palate which craves the flavors of the foods of dozens of countries. Thai, Japanese, Filipino, Indian, Jamaican, Italian, French, Mexican, Cuban, Ethiopian, Chinese, Korean and Southern foods are in rotation in my kitchen. You can find some of my international recipes in my vegan cookbook Why Vegan is the New Black: More than 100 Delicious Meat and Dairy Free Meal Ideas Your Whole Family Will Love; others are available right here on this blog.

How to Make Vegan Kimbap or Gimbap

With the growing popularity of Korean dramas, people all over the world are now familiar with the seaweed, rice, vegetable and meat rolls called “kimbap” or “gimbap”. To translate the term – kim or gim in Korean means dried seaweed, and bap means rice.

vegan kimbap recipe by Deborrah Cooper

Kimbap/gimbop is to Koreans like hamburgers or sandwiches to Americans; it’s a food that can be purchased everywhere (even at 7/11 type convenience stores), and is extremely popular. Not only is kimbap delicious, it travels well for lunches and picnics, is extremely versatile in it’s preparation, and highly nutritious.

Traditionally, these rice and seaweed rolls incorporate fish cake, beef and egg. Since vegans don’t eat those things, and I wanted my kimbap fix, I figured out a way to make it happen with creative use of black fungus strips (dried wood ear mushrooms) and a marinade.

vegan kimbap recipe by Deborrah Cooper

What Are Wood Ear Mushrooms?

If you’ve ever had hot and sour soup at a Chinese restaurant, you’ve had wood ear mushrooms (aka black fungus), before. Those thin dark strips mixed into the soup were rehydrated black fungus. The information on wood ear mushrooms below is from the website SpecialtyProduce.Com.

Description/Tastewood ear mushrooms used in vegan kimbap
Dried Wood Ear mushrooms have the appearance of black trumpet mushrooms, the often large mushroom appearing thin and frail, curled tightly into itself exposing its snowy underside against its black cap. When reconstituted, its colors blend together, turning it into a large wavy silvery black mushroom paddle nearly seven times the size of its dried form. The Wood Ear resembles the crunchy and gelatinous consistency of jelly fish or squid. It has a delicate forest aroma and it is virtually absent of flavor, utilized solely for its textural properties.le year-round.

Current Facts
Wood Ear mushrooms, Auricularia Polytricha, have numerous aliases include tree ear, black fungus, Judas’ ear, jelly fungus, yung ngo, mu-er, ear fungus, kikurage, mokurage and aragekikurage. They received their given name because they look like ears growing out of trees.

Nutritional Value
Wood Ears are being studied for effects on blood, as they contain a compound that inhibits clotting. This mushroom may be beneficial in preventing heart attacks and strokes. In China, this mushroom is believed to enhance health and treat ailments when eaten regularly or brewed in a tea.

Kitchen Equipment Needed to Make Vegan Kimbap or Gimbap

  • 1 bamboo mat for rolling the vegan kimbap (available at most Asian markets)
  • 1 small to medium pot or rice cooker for preparing the rice
  • 1 large bowl to mix rice and seasonings
  • 1 fine mesh strainer to rinse rice and drain the mushroom marinade
  • 1 medium bowl to marinate dried wood ear mushrooms
  • 1 small pot to blanch raw spinach
  • 1 sauce pan for braising burdock root
  • 1 medium non-stick pan or wok for sautéing the carrots and the marinated wood ear mushrooms
  • 1 very sharp knife to cut vegan kimbap rolls
  • 1 serving tray or large plate to place vegan kimbap slices on for serving

Kimbap takes a bit of time to prepare with all the cutting and julienning and sauteeing you must do before the rolling begins, but it’s totally worth it. Bring your vegan kimbap to the next potluck or work event, and see how impressed everyone is with your kitchen genius! You can thank me later.

vegan kimbap recipe by Deborrah Cooper

Preparing Vegan Kimbap or Gimbap Ingredients

  1. First thing you should do is pour the dried mushrooms into a fine mesh strainer and rinse them thoroughly for about 30 seconds. Place them into a large bowl.
    • Prepare the mushroom marinade:  Combine 2 cloves minced garlic, 3 Tablespoons tamari, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 Tablespoon sesame oil.
  2. Pour marinade over the dried mushrooms. Stir well. Cover and set aside for 30-45 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. We’ll get back to them last.
  3. Put rinsed rice and 1 tsp sea salt in rice cooker, then add water. Use 1/2  cup less water than you usually do (for 2 cups of rice I use 1-2/3 cups of water).
  4. Peel and cut 1 very large or two medium carrots into 3″ long pieces. Cut those pieces into matchsticks. You want to have about 2 cups of carrots in total. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside.
  5. Rinse and strain 10 oz package of baby spinach leaves, then set them aside
  6. Peel English cucumber with vegetable peeler, and cut in half. Cut each half into 1/2″ long slices. Cut those slices into strips about 1/2″ wide. Place them on your assembly tray.
  7. Measure out 1.5 Tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce, 1/4 cup of water, and 2 Tablespoons Agave or rice syrup. Place into a small bowl and set aside. This is your burdock root seasoning mix.
  8. Measure out 3 Tablespoons of rice vinegar, 4 teaspoons brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons of sesame oil, and 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of sea salt into a small bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside. This is your rice seasoning mix.
  9. Rinse, then trim ends off burdock root. Remove thin skin with edge of a spoon or back of a knife. Cut each piece diagonally into thin slices, then slice them into matchsticks. You will see them turning brown, but don’t worry about it, as you’ll be cooking them in soy sauce later anyway.

Cooking the Vegan Kimbap Ingredients

  • Rice
    Once the rice has finished cooking, immediately remove it from the rice cooker into a baking dish or large but shallow bowl. Pour the rice seasoning mix over the hot rice and gently fold and mix thoroughly. Let rice cool to the point it’s not steaming anymore. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, then cover with plate or plastic wrap or foil to maintain moisture.
  • Burdock Root
    Heat a medium non-stick saute pan, heat 1 Tablespoon or so of sesame oil. Add the burdock root and stir fry 3-5 minutes until translucent. Reduce heat to medium-low then add seasoning mix. Simmer until most of the liquid as evaporated (8-9 minutes). Remove from pan and place on assembly tray.
  • Carrots
    Dump carrots onto a paper towel and cover with another. Pat and squeeze gently to remove excess moisture. Heat saute pan and add 1/2 teaspoon of avocado or sunflower oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and stir fry the carrots for about 1 minute until tender crisp. Remove from pan and place on assembly tray next to burdock root.
  • Spinach
    Bring 3 cups of water and 1 tsp salt to a boil. Dump in the entire package of baby spinach leaves. Let them cook a mere 30 seconds (blanch), then pour into strainer. Run cold tap water over the spinach to stop the cooking process immediately. Press excess water out gently with your hand, then remove to a bowl. Season spinach with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and a pinch or two of salt. Mix well and set aside.
  • Pickled Radish
    Slice each piece of radish into 1/2″ thick slices, then cut each slice lengthwise into long thin strips. Your strips should be 1/2″ thick and 1/2″ wide. Place these on the assembly tray with the other vegetables.
  • Wood Ear Mushrooms
    Pour marinated mushrooms into mesh strainer and drain off excess. Into a large non-stick frying pan or wok, add 1 Tablespoon avocado oil. When hot, add the mushroom strips, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, 1/2 cup sake (rice wine), 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Stir fry for about 5 minutes over high heat until liquid evaporates and garlic is tender. Remove from heat onto plate.

how to make vegan kimbap

Time to Roll Your Vegan Kimbap

  1. Lay your bamboo mat on a flat surface. Place one sheet of seaweed on it with the dull side up. Spread about 2/3 cup of rice (more if you like a lot of rice) on top, leave the last 2-1/2″ but put a few small dollops on the very end of the gim. That helps seal the roll securely.
  2. Place a narrow strip of each of your fillings side by side on the rice. Remember, this is not a burrito, so don’t overstuff it or you won’t be able to roll the kimbap well, and you risk having it fall apart.
  3. Using both hands, fold the end closest to you towards the away end, rolling the mat. Lift it up the end of mat once the end of the seaweed touches the rice, and squeeze the roll gently though the mat.
  4. Continue rolling, lifting the mat as you roll so it doesn’t get rolled into the kimbap. When you reach the end, gently squeeze the mat to firm the roll, then remove the mat. Place roll on a tray seam side down, and repeat process until you’ve used all your filling.
  5. Rub a bit of sesame oil on your hand and gently smooth it into the finished rolls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
  6. Slice each roll with a sharp knife into 1/2″ thick slices. Wiping your knife every few cuts with a wet paper or cloth towel makes the cutting easier and neater.

rolling your vegan kimbap instructions

Once you’ve cut your rolls, you can eat them immediately, or pack them up for a picnic or lunch, just like they do in the Korean dramas!

Enjoy your vegan kimbap. If you get a chance to come back to rate the recipe, please upload a picture of your creation as well.

Vegan Kimbap - How To Make Kimbap Vegan
 
Created by:
Recipe Type: Light Meals
Cuisine: Vegan
Number Servings: 5-6 rolls
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
 
In this vegan rendition of a Korean favorite, we swap out the traditional beef, fish or fishcake protein for a flavorful plant-based substitute - marinated black fungus or wood ear mushrooms. All of the flavor of the original but it's 100% vegan.
What You Need
  • 1 very large or two medium carrots
  • 1 6 oz package dried wood ear mushroom (black fungus) strips
  • 3 cups sweet white rice (short grain)
  • 1 package dried Nori seaweed (aka sushi wrappers)
  • 10 oz bag baby spinach
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 package yellow pickled radish
  • 2 large cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 package (1/2 lb) fresh burdock root (aka gobo root)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 bottle rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons agave or rice syrup
  • 1 bottle sesame oil
  • 1 bottle tamari or soy sauce
  • 4 oz. sake (rice wine)
  • avocado oil
  • sesame seeds
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt
How to Do It
PREPARATION OF INGREDIENTS FOR VEGAN KIMBAP
  1. Pour the dried mushrooms into a strainer and rinse them thoroughly for about 30 seconds. Place them into a large bowl. Combine 2 cloves minced garlic, 3 Tablespoons tamari, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 Tablespoon sesame oil as your marinade. Stir well and pour over dried mushrooms. Cover and set aside for 30-45 minutes while you prepare remaining ingredients.
  2. Put rinsed rice and 1 tsp sea salt in rice cooker, then add water. Use ½ cup or so up less water than you usually do (for 2 cups of rice I use 1-2/3 cups of water).
  3. Peel and cut 1 very large or two medium carrots into 3" long pieces. Cut those pieces into matchsticks. You want to have about 2 cups of carrots in total. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside.
  4. Rinse and strain 10 oz package of baby spinach leaves, then set them aside.
  5. Cut English cucumber in half, then peel one of the halves with a vegetable peeler. Cut into ½" thick slices. Cut those slices into strips about ½" wide. Place them on your assembly tray.
  6. Measure out 1.5 Tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce, ¼ cup of water, and 2 Tablespoons Agave or rice syrup. Place into a small bowl and set aside. This is your burdock root seasoning mix.
  7. Measure out 3 Tablespoons of rice vinegar, 4 teaspoons brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons of sesame oil, and 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of sea salt into a small bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside. This is your rice seasoning mix.
  8. Rinse, then trim ends off burdock root. Remove thin skin with edge of a spoon or back of a knife. Cut each piece diagonally into thin slices, then slice them into matchsticks. You will see them turning brown, but don't worry about it, as you'll be cooking them in soy sauce later anyway.
COOKING THE INGREDIENTS
    Rice
    1. Once the rice has finished cooking, immediately remove it from the rice cooker into a baking dish or large but shallow bowl. Pour the rice seasoning mix over the hot rice and gently fold and mix thoroughly. Let rice cool until no more steam is emitted. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, then cover with plate or plastic wrap or foil to maintain moisture.
    Burdock Root
    1. Heat a medium non-stick saute pan, heat 1 Tablespoon or so of sesame oil. Add the burdock root and stir fry 3-5 minutes until translucent. Reduce heat to medium-low then add seasoning mix (1.5 Tablespoons soy sauce, ¼ cup of water, 2 Tablespoons agave or rice syrup). Simmer until most of the liquid as evaporated (7-9 minutes). Remove from pan and place on assembly tray.
    Carrots
    1. Dump carrots onto a paper towel and cover with another. Pat and squeeze gently to remove excess moisture. Heat saute pan and add ½ teaspoon of avocado or sunflower oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and stir fry the carrots for about 1 minute until tender crisp. Remove from pan and place on assembly tray next to burdock root.
    Spinach
    1. Bring 3 cups of water and 1 tsp salt to a boil. Dump in the entire package of baby spinach leaves. Let them cook a mere 30 seconds (blanch), then pour into strainer. Run cold tap water over the spinach to stop the cooking process immediately. Press excess water out gently with your hand, then remove to a bowl. Season spinach with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and a pinch or two of salt. Mix well and set aside.
    Yellow Pickled Radish
    1. Slice each piece of radish into ½" thick slices, then cut each slice lengthwise into long thin strips. Your strips should be ½" thick and ½" wide. Place these on the assembly tray with the other vegetables.
    Wood Ear Mushrooms
    1. Pour marinated mushrooms into mesh strainer and drain off excess. Into a large non-stick frying pan or wok, add 1 Tablespoon avocado oil. When hot, add the mushroom strips, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, ½ cup sake (rice wine), 3 Tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Stir fry for about 5 minutes over high heat until liquid evaporates and garlic is tender. Remove from heat onto plate.
    ROLL THE KIMBAP
    1. Lay your bamboo mat on a flat surface. Place one sheet of seaweed on it dull side up. Spread about ⅔ cup of rice (more if you like a lot of rice) on top, leave the last 2-1/2" bare, but put a few small dollops on the very end of the gim to help seal the roll securely.
    2. Place a narrow strip of each of your fillings side by side on the rice. Remember, this is not a burrito, so don't overstuff it or you won't be able to roll the kimbap well, and you risk having it fall apart.
    3. Using both hands, fold the end closest to you towards the away end, rolling the mat. Lift it up the end of mat once the end of the seaweed touches the rice, and squeeze the roll gently though the mat.
    4. Continue rolling, lifting the mat as you roll so it doesn't get rolled into the kimbap. When you reach the end, gently squeeze the mat to firm the roll, then remove the mat. Place roll on a tray seam side down, and repeat process until you've used all your filling.
    5. Rub a bit of sesame oil on your hand and gently smooth it into the finished rolls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
    6. Slice each roll with a sharp knife into ½" thick slices. Wiping your knife every few cuts with a wet paper or cloth towel makes the cutting easier and neater.

     

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