Cooking Korean: a kimbap class


The school I teach English in has this cooking project called Be a Chef, in which kids get to prepare a recipe both easy and yummy. As stressing as it may be for me (what can I say, I get stressed out pretty easily, haha), they always have great fun and love the experience, so I end up having a lot of fun, too.

And why am I telling this in here? Well, the thing is, yesterday was cooking day over at Polilogos, the school I learn Korean in. Be a Chef Korean-style, yay! We were told a couple weeks ago about it and I have to admit I was anxious and scared at the same time. I mean, I do enjoy cooking, but I’m always a bit reticent when first doing/cooking something. Turns out the whole thing was super easy and totally pleasant!

Kimbap (김밥) was the chosen dish – an awesome idea since it’s quick to make and requires no high cooking skills. The school provided everything we needed and all vegetables, rice, eggs and seaweed were ready to be transformed into this lovely food.

I’ll be totally honest: we didn’t cook the rice nor the vegetables and most certainly didn’t make the omelette; when I say they were ready, I do mean it. 😉 The teachers taught us how to put everything on top of the seaweed and how to roll it and close it properly and then we were off to make our own. In the end, we got to take home two rolls each, yay!

In the end, I was overjoyed: I had tried my hand at Korean cooking and had succeeded, partially, at least! I put a tad too much rice and when it was time to roll it, the seaweed ripped a bit. But, anyway, yes, it was absolutely elementary and involved nothing else but making the roll, but it made want to try it again and, maybe with a slightly more challenging dish. I do have dreams of making my own kimchi, so who knows where this may lead me? For the time being, though, I guess I’ll stick to easier, quicker to prepare things. 😉


For the history freaks out there, a little bit on the origin of kimbap: this dish was created during the Japanese occupation of Korea, which is why it looks so much like sushi, but with different ingredients. A quick search of Wikipedia brings this out: “This process was initiated during the Japanese occupation (1910-1945), when Western food and drink, such as bread, confectionery, and beer, became popular in Korean cities, and a Western-style food processing industry in Korea began. Some Japanese food items were also adopted into Korean cuisine at that time, such as tosirak (the assorted lunch box) and sushi rolled in sheets of seaweed, which was popular in Korea under the name of kimbap.” (Levinson, David; Christensen, Karen. Encyclopedia of Modern Asia: China-India relations to Hyogo. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002.)


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