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Low sodium gimbap (Korean seaweed rice rolls)

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

I found these gimMe roasted seaweed wrappers that have just 5 mg of sodium per sheet and started making my own gimbap with low sodium ingredients. You can use whatever vegetables/meats you like but they taste best if the filling ingredients have a variety of textures and colors. Here I've used kale, carrots, pickled daikon, eggs, and cucumbers so they're 45 mg of sodium per roll. See the notes below for suggestions on other ingredients that work well as fillings.

Servings: 4 rolls Sodium: 45 mg per roll Time: 30 minutes (plus time for cooking rice and pickling daikon)

Ingredients: 4 sheets roasted seaweed

2-3 cups cooked rice

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 medium carrot, julienned

2 cups kale, chopped

1 small Persian cucumber, julienned

2-3 ounces pickled daikon

1) Heat a small skillet over medium heat with enough oil to coat the surface. Pour the beaten egg into the pan and cook on low for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for another minute. Let the egg cool and cut it into long strips, about 1/2 inch wide.

2) Heat the same skillet again with enough oil to coat the surface, and sauté the kale until it is wilted and cooked, about 4-5 minutes.

3) Combine the cooked rice with 1 tablespoon sesame oil and set aside. You can use as little or as much rice as you want (and adjust the sesame oil accordingly), but it takes at least 1/2 cup of cooked rice per roll to get a nice ring of rice. The first time I made any kind of seaweed roll I was really surprised at how much rice is in a roll! Sushi rice works best, but you can also use regular long grain rice, jasmine rice, or short grain brown rice also. If the rice is too dry it won't hold together in the roll.

4) Assemble your gimbap. Have everything ready and laid out together in one place. The seaweed sheets can have a smoother side and a rougher side, so make sure the smooth side is on the outside of the roll. Make sure to check the sodium content on the seaweed wrappers, they can be pretty high. These gimMe roasted seaweed wrappers are my favorite.

The rice should not be too hot, just warm, or else the wrapper will get to hot and shrivel up. Spread 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the rice on the wrapper as shown. Then pile each of the ingredients on in a pyramid-like shape and roll it up, pressing down evenly to get everything packed in tightly. A bamboo mat would make this easier but I don't have one. Place the roll seam side down for a few minutes and the wrapper should soften enough so that it seals on the end. Then use a very sharp knife and cut the roll into 4-8 pieces. It helps to put a little bit of sesame oil on your knife, and wipe it clean between cuts.

Serve with a side of low sodium soy sauce mixed with a little sesame oil, and maybe some chili oil.


-If you don't like or don't have any of the fillings I've used here, here are some other options: brown rice, ground beef, stir fried beef, salmon, tuna (even canned tuna), avocados, blanched spinach, bell peppers, sautéed onions or mushrooms, tofu...the possibilities are really endless. A nice balance of colors and textures make the best rolls. If you're using meat, about 1 ounce of beef/fish per roll works well. And for any vegetables, make sure they don't have a lot of moisture or else the rolls will get soggy. If you happen to have some low sodium gochujong sauce, you could mix it in with your rice or serve it on the side for dipping.

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