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Do you love kimchi fried rice? What about cheese? If so, try making our cheese kimbap recipe! Kimbap is a popular Korean snack and picnic food. Our recipe gives a fun ‘cheesy’ twist to the classic version that uses white rice with different fillings. Instead of using white rice, our recipe for cheese kimbap uses kimchi fried rice and melted mozzarella cheese in the center. It is then rolled in dried seaweed!
Our cheese kimbap recipe is spicy from the kimchi fried rice. The melted mozzarella ‘pizza’ cheese both calms the spice and gives it a nice, creamy flavor. If you like cheese topped fried rice or tteokbokki, you will enjoy this slightly spicy and creamy recipe as well!
Before we get to our cheese kimbap recipe, let’s learn about Korean kimbap!
What Is Kimbap?
One of my favorite Korean dishes to make and eat is kimbap (김밥). You may know that from our triangle kimbap recipe! Also known as gimbap, this Korean dish is made using rice, different filling ingredients, and dried seaweed. To make kimbap, you roll the rice and filling ingredients in the dried seaweed. Then, you cut the roll into bite-size pieces. People around the world often compare it to Japanese rolled sushi, but the two dishes are completely different. If you would like to learn the differences between the two, check out our blog post ‘Kimbap vs Sushi: What Is the Difference?’.
Korean kimbap does not have a single correct recipe and flavor. Instead, you can make kimbap based on what you want to eat! One day you may desire spam, radish, and spinach. Another day, you may want spicy tuna with kimchi. Kimbap has so many different flavor options!
Classic kimbap flavors typically use ingredients such as ham, crabstick, pickled radish, carrots, egg, tuna, and more. With classic kimbap, you also typically use plain short-grained white rice. On the other hand, our cheese kimbap recipe uses kimchi fried rice instead of plain white rice. Also, the filling ingredient used is melted mozzarella cheese!
When Do You Eat Kimbap?
In South Korea, people often eat kimbap as a cheap and convenient food! Often, you will find small kimbap restaurants near elementary, middle, high schools, and universities while walking around the cities. Typically, you can get a huge, fully stuffed kimbap roll for as little as $2.
Many kimbap restaurants also serve inexpensive food such as tteokbokki, rabokki, and jjigae. If you ever go to a kimbap restaurant in South Korea, I recommend also ordering tteokbokki and dipping your kimbap in the spicy red sauce!
Kimbap is also considered a perfect picnic food in South Korea. Restaurants will typically wrap the kimbap in tinfoil if you do takeout for a light picnic snack or meal. People also make kimbap at home while prepping for a full picnic meal. Often, picnic foods include fruit sandwiches, dumplings, potato salad, and more!
Cheese Kimbap Tips and Tricks
- Before using newly bought gochugaru (Korean pepper powder), always taste a bit to know the spice level. With the same brand, I have had some bags of gochugaru taste much spicier than others. Then, when making the fried rice portion of this dish, alter the amount of gochugaru based on your spice tolerance and the heat level of your gochugaru. For our recipe, the spice level isn’t too strong.
- When rolling the kimbap, place a layer of plastic wrap between the bamboo rolling mat and the dried seaweed. This way, the plastic wrap protects the bamboo roll from getting too dirty. I find cleaning the bamboo mat to be a huge hassle when rice gets stuck between pieces of bamboo.
- When slicing the cheese kimbap, let the cheese cool slightly and set. Otherwise, the cheese will ooze out of the individual slices and stick to the knife. You may get annoyed trying to cut the slices if you don’t let it set!
- Make sure your knife is sharp to cut the kimbap into pieces! Kimbap tears easily. If your knife isn’t sharp, and you need to saw back-and-forth, you may rip open the roll and cause the rice and fillings to fall out.
- If you don’t like Mozzarella, you can switch it out for American or other mild cheeses! I personally also enjoy different pizza blends.
- You can easily order different Korean pantry ingredients online if they are unavailable in your area! For this recipe, you will need gochugaru, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten free soy sauce! On the other hand, if you want to make this recipe soy free, use coconut aminos. FYI, coconut aminos will make the dish gluten-free as well.
Cheese Kimbap Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some questions about Korean kimbap. If you have further questions, let us know in the comment section below or emails us at [email protected].
What Type of Rice Should I Use?
When making kimbap, Koreans typically use white, short-grained rice. In our household, we use the Calrose style of white rice. This style of rice is most similar to the rice used in South Korea. You can find Calrose rice in most grocery stores and online.
Can You Make Kimbap in Advance?
You can make kimbap a few hours in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, you cannot make kimbap the day before. As the dish sits in the fridge, the rice hardens and becomes drier. As a result, the dish will not be tasty.
What Should I Do With Leftover Kimbap?
Question: Well, if refrigerated kimbap doesn’t taste good past a few hours, what should I do with leftover Korean kimbap?
If you have leftovers, instead of throwing away the dried-out kimbap, dip the slices of kimbap in a beaten egg and pan-fry them. The pan-frying method softens the rice again. In many ways, this method reminds me of jeon–Korean pan-fried pancakes made from different ingredients.
Did You Enjoy Cheese Kimbap Recipe?
In the end, did you enjoy eating our cheese kimbap? Do you have a favorite kimbap recipe? If so, we would love to hear about it in the comment section!
If you would like to read more articles about kimbap, check out the ones listed below. Also, we listed some of our other Korean recipes you may enjoy!
Kimbap Recipes and Articles:
- Kimbap vs Sushi: What Is the Difference?
- Triangle Kimbap (Kimchi Tuna Triangle Kimbap); and
- Triangle Kimbap and Onigiri Fillings
Korean Food and Drink Recipes:
- Mayak Eggs (Korean Marinated Eggs)
- Maneul Jangajji (Korean Pickled Garlic)
- Romaine Sangchu Geotjeori (Korean Romaine Lettuce Salad)
- Soju and Tonic (A Korean Soju Cocktail)
- Soju Caipirinha (A Korean Take on Brazil’s National Drink); and
- Korean Barbecue Dipping Sauces
If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at [email protected].
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