You know, I always leave my cooking until the last possible minute. I have all kinds of recipes I’ve tagged and saved and they’re all percolating up there in my head…until Tuesday night (or Saturday night, depending on which post I’m writing!)
I’d wanted to make “maki” for the Food Desert Project for a while, but was totally stymied by how to replace nori – to me an essential component of a sushi roll, along with fresh vegetables…and, well, fresh fish. One day, at our local H-Mart, I had my first encounter with Kimbap, which reminded me of a dragged-through-the-garden Chicago Dog (they often have suspiciously-hotdog-like sausages in them) containing vegetables, pickles, and meat – basically, whatever you’ve got in the kitchen – wrapped in rice and nori. Perfect for adapting to the food desert…but for the nori!
One day, I realized I’d forgotten the obvious, and googled “nori substitutes.” I found this terrific recipe for microwaved usuyaki tamago, or scrambled egg sheet, sometimes used as a replacement rice wrapper. Success!
So, first I had a go at the egg sheet. I got a bit ahead of myself and tried to make a sheet with corners by doubling the recipe and using a rectangular serving tray…let’s just say – don’t do that (I did make the dog very happy.) Only slightly panicked at potential failure as my deadline loomed, I sprayed one of our dinner plates with cooking spray, took a breath, and proceeded:
Usuyaki Tamago, Egg sheets: Ingredients
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
Put all the ingredients in a blender jar and blend them briefly a couple of times, or conversely just whip with a whisk (you want them well-blended but without lots of air.) Spray a microwaveable plate thoroughly with cooking spray, and pour on the egg.
Place the plate in the microwave, and microwave on 50% power for one minute. Allow to rest for 15 seconds, and continue microwaving at 50% power in 30-second increments until the center of your egg sheet is cooked. The edges will curl and bubble and it won’t be terribly attractive, but cook it as slowly as possible and it should even out as it all sets.
Remove your egg sheet from the microwave and allow to cool as you gather your ingredients and supplies for the Kimbap (technically, Kim means nori and bap means rice, so we are playing fast and loose with language here.) Fortunately for me, as it turns out, the entire recipe is actually fairly simple and comes together quickly.
Giardiniera Kimbap: Ingredients
1 Usuyaki Tamago
1/4 cup cooked short-grain rice, warm (I like this recipe, but use leftover rice if that’s what you have)
About a tablespoon of giardiniera relish, drained
1 zip-top plastic bag
Spread a stripe of giardiniera along the diameter of your rice-covered egg wrapper. Cut your sardine into strips and lay it alongside the giardiniera.
Using the plastic bag, fold the bottom edge of your egg wrapper over the fillings. When the edge of the wrapper covers the fillings, using your fingers and the plastic bag, pull it towards you (I sometimes flip the bag back and forth so I can best use the zipper for leverage as needed.) and curve your fingers so the roll tightens.
Continue using the bag to roll the egg wrapper around the rice until you have a tight tube. Pull it very tight using the plastic bag.
Remove your tube from the plastic, and place it on the cutting board. With a sharp knife, trim off the ends (those are spoils for the cook!) and then cut the roll into about six equal pieces (depending on the length of your tube.)
Serve and enjoy!