Kimbap, sometimes spelt as Gimbap is a specialty Korean food that combines the lovely flavours of sesame oil seasoned short-grained rice, pressed seaweed rolls, meat, fresh vegetables and pickled vegetables to introduce what can only be described as a festival of flavour in the mouth. It is popular because of this interesting combination of flavours and it is very pleasing to the eye. Popular as kimbap is it is a very unforgiving food when it comes to storing and keeping it. It is possible to reheat kimbap despite how temperamental some of the ingredients used in it are. Let’s get a clear picture of what kimbap is.
Kimbap is a Korean dish made from rice, meat, seaweed and vegetables. The rice, meat and vegetables are placed on gim (seaweed rolls) and rolled up into a cylinder shape then sliced to make small bites sized portions of kimbap. Bap in Korean is a term that is used broadly to refer to boiled rice. To those not quite familiar with it kimbap can be confused for the Japanese sushi. Kimbap is similar to Japanese maki, which is also seaweed wrapped and served alongside sushi. The origins of Kimbap are shrouded in mystery as there are Japanese claims that Kimbap is simply derived from Maki, this is evidenced by early 20th Century references to kimbap as Norimaki. However, it has been proven that Koreans had been processing seaweed into gim as far back as the 15th century according to cookbooks. There are marked differences between Korean kimbap and its Japanese contemporaries Sushi and Maki. In sushi, the rice is seasoned with vinegar and sugar while in kimbap the rice is often seasoned with sesame oil and sesame seeds. While sushi and maki normally have raw fish in them even where kimbap recipes feature seafood it is cooked. It’s also worth noting that while sushi and maki are speciality foods made by highly qualified chefs kimbap is a homely food and a very popular street food item in Korea.
Reheating on the stove
The recommended way to reheat kimbap is on the stove. The trouble as we have mentioned is the rapid loss in the texture of the ingredients in kimbap. Any heating attempts will have to take into account the texture of the ingredients. Heating it on the stove is the best way but certainly not simple. The method employed is frying but you cannot fry kimbap directly because of the aforementioned texture loss issues. To take care of this problem you will use beaten eggs to coat the kimbap and then fry in a pan or skillet.
To egg fry kimbap remove your kimbap from the fridge. Beat an egg or more depending on the amount of kimbap that you intend to reheat. Beat the egg or eggs and season with a little salt. Place your pan or skillet on the stove. Coat the pan with your choice of cooking oil, if you have sesame oil it will work well with the sesame flavoured rice in the kimbap. Heat the oil in the pan to medium heat. Now one by one you can dip the kimbap in the egg making sure they are completely covered. Then simply place in the pan with one side down. Allow frying on one side for 2 to 3 minutes until the egg coating achieves a golden brown colour. Flip the individual kimbap pieces over as they get golden brown and apply the same treatment to the other side. Cooking at a medium heat allows the eggs to settle and hold everything together while also allowing enough time for the inside of the kimbap to heat up evenly. After this, the kimbap is done and ready. You may choose to drain the kimbap on a paper towel as you take them out of the pan.
Heating kimbap is easy and fortunately a very quick exercise. You may find it difficult to heat kimbap any other way and you will certainly lose out in terms of texture. You can experiment a little with adding sesame seeds to your eggs as you beat them.
Reheat Kimbap In The Microwave
NB: this method completely sacrifices the texture of the kimbap by making it soggy and mushy. So only use this method if you are concerned about losing the texture.
When using the microwave to reheat kimbap the first thing you need to do is to thaw the kimbap by letting them sit at room temperature for a few minutes. This helps to ensure that when they are reheated, all sides can heat up evenly. The next step is to place the kimbap in a microwave safe plate or bowl and cover them with wet paper towels or a microwave safe glass. This will help to prevent the kimbap from drying out and turning too soggy or mushy. Microwave the kimbap making sure to check them after every 15 seconds. When they are completely heated, you can take them out and enjoy.
Reheat Kimbap In The Oven
NB: this method can dry out the kimbap so make sure your oven is set to low heat.
The oven can be used to reheat various foods including kimbap. When reheating kimbap in the oven make sure you set your oven to low heat. Place the kimbap in an oven safe dish or bowl. The next step is to place the kimbap in the oven and let them heat up for a minute or less and then take them out. Avoid leaving the kimbap in the oven for too long as there is a risk that they will dry out.
Reheat Kimbap In A Toaster Oven
NB: the element of a toaster oven is often close to the baking dish or bowl so always use indirect heat when heating up kimbap using this method.
When using the toaster oven to reheat kimbap the first thing you should do is to place your kimbap at room temperature whilst you heat up your toaster oven to low heat. Once your kimbap is now at room temperature, place it in an oven safe dish or bowl that is big enough to fit into the toaster oven. Switch off the toaster oven and place the kimbap inside. Let the remaining heat, reheat your kimbap for about a minute or so and then take it out. Avoid exposing your kimbap to direct heat from the oven toaster as they can end up dry or too soggy.
The Most Recommended Method For Reheating Kimbap
As noted in this article, most of the methods that can be used to reheat kimbap tend to sacrifice the texture and flavor of kimbap, but the most recommended method is that of using the stove and coating the kimbap in egg. Coating the kimbap in egg helps to prevent it from drying up and turning too mushy or soggy. So if you are looking for a method that won’t overly sacrifice the texture of your kimbap we highly recommend that you use the stove method.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Reheating Kimbap
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages associated with reheating kimbap can help you decide on whether reheating is a viable option for you.
Advantages Of Reheating Kimbap
- Reheating gets rid of unwanted bacteria.
- It’s a great way of saving food and time.
Disadvantages Of Reheating Kimbap
- Reheating sacrifices the texture and flavor of kimbap.
Are You Supposed To Heat Up Kimbap?
Kimbap is often served at room temperature but, if you had prepared kimbap way ahead of time and stored it in the refrigerator you will have to heat it up. This is because when kimbap is stored in the refrigerator, the rice becomes hard, making it harder to consume. So the only option you would have is to reheat the kimbap, but there are a lot of textural changes that may happen to your kimbap. The only way to minimize the changes is to coat the kimbap with egg before heating it up.
Kimbap is usually made to eat fresh and it’s advisable to eat it within a few hours of it being made. Kimbap is in many cases eaten cold so after it is made it’s best to keep it cold while waiting to eat it. Within two hours of being made, kimbap maintains both its taste and texture very well. After the two hour mark, however, the rice may start to dry out. Kimbap recipes almost always use a short-grain rice variety such as Uruchimai, Meshi and Arborio. Short grain kinds of rice are notorious for their high starch content. This makes them perfect for making meals like kimbap as the rice grains easily stick together and help hold the whole roll together. However, they also dry out very quickly and this is one of the major problems with kimbap that prevents it from being the type of food you can easily store. The rice grains will lose much of their moisture to the gim or seaweed, leaving it soggy which will greatly affect its integrity and ability to hold the roll together. While you can store kimbap in the fridge for days it’s worth noting that you will lose a lot of the texture of the key ingredients, the rice and seaweed within hours. Freezing kimbap is not a good idea at all. There are too many elements and problems to contend with when freezing kimbap. It can certainly store and thaw well but what you sacrifice for this is the texture of the ingredients. Vegetables like cucumber and peppers will lose a lot of moisture in the thawing process and this very moisture will seep into the seaweed and make it soggy.
Is It Okay To Refrigerate Kimbap?
Yes, it is okay to refrigerate kimbap for a few hours. So if you are planning on making kimbap way ahead of time you can always refrigerate it. However, you should avoid storing kimbap in the refrigerator for more than 12 hours as this tends to dry out the rice even more and when it is reheated it loses most of its texture and flavor.
How Do You Reheat Frozen Kimbap?
The best way to reheat frozen kimbap is to use the stove method. However, you need to start by thawing the frozen kimbap at room temperature before coating them with eggs and then heating them up on the stove. If you are not a fan of eggs you can always use the oven and microwave methods stated in this article.
Can You Make Gimbap The Day Before?
Yes, you can make Gimbap the day before. However, you should be cognizant of the fact that the rice in gimbap tends to dry out quickly when left in the refrigerator. So if you are not too fussy about retaining the texture of your gimbap you can always make them the day before.
How Many Hours Can Kimbap Last?
The number of hours kimbap will last is dependent on where exactly it is being kept. If kimbap is left at room temperature it can last for 2 to 3 hours before the rice starts turning dry. However, if you are storing kimbap in the refrigerator it will last 48 to 72 hours before it starts turning bad.
Does Kimbap Freeze Well?
You can freeze kimbap but the problem is that it will lose its texture and flavor when you reheat it. So only use this method as your last resort for storing kimbap.
Is Kimbap Healthy?
Yes Kimbap is healthy, it is filled with carbohydrates, protein and various vitamins found in the vegetables used. So if you are someone looking to live a healthy lifestyle you should consider eating kimbap.
Kimbap is best served at room temperature however, if you happen to have leftovers you can always reheat them using any of the methods stated above.