It has been a pleasant summer so far in Southern California, compared to the rest of the country where triple digit temperature has been prevailing. We have been blessed by marine layers from the Pacific Ocean which serve as a natural air conditioner to keep us around 80F for most of Los Angeles.
On hot summer days, light meals with easy to fix ingredients are preferred, like kimbap, a Korean dish similar to California rolls. It is fun to make (my daughter LOVES to do it) and easy to eat. It can be an appetizer or side dish. You can make kimbap whenever you don't feel like cooking. The ingredients do not need any cooking, except the fried egg and rice, but like the rest of the ingredients, it can be replaced with other foods of your choice. It can also be completely vegetarian.
I just love the rainbow color: black seaweed, white rice, yellow egg and radish, orange carrot, red imitation crab meat, green cucumber and pink Spam !
The amount of ingredients does not need to be followed precisely. It is for your reference only:
3-4 cups freshly steamed rice, cool, mix with 2 tbsp sesame oil
1 yellow pickled radish, cut into strips*
1 large cucumber, cut into strips*
2 large eggs, scrambled and fried, cut into strips*
10 pieces imitation crab meat
1 carrot, cut thinly
1 can Spam or other luncheon meat, cut into strips*
10 pieces dried unseasoned seaweed
*the strips are about half an inch thick
1 bamboo sushi rolling mat
1) Lay the seaweed on top of the rolling mat and spread a thin layer of rice on the seaweed, leaving about one inch of exposed seaweed at the edge farthest from you.
2) Pile a piece of each of the ingredients in the middle of the rice.
3) Keeping the ingredients in place, roll the bamboo mat and the rice+seaweed so that it enfolds the ingredients. Try to make it as tight as you can.
4) Pulling the edge of the bamboo mat out of the way as you go, keep rolling it up.
5) As you finish, squeeze the whole thing, bamboo mat and all, so that it doesn't unravel at once.
6) Take the bamboo mat off.
7) On the edge that doesn't have any rice, stick a few grains of rice on it to make it adhere to the rest of the roll.
8) Roll it up again in the bamboo mat and squeeze again to make sure it sticks.
9) Cut it up about half an inch thick and serve, with or without soy sauce.
1) It is best to serve the same day. Tightly cover the left over in the refrigerator for no more than a day because the rice will get hard.
2) Spam can be replaced by other kind of meat, such as sausages, hot dog meat or even BBQ pork or beef.