Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Clash of the titans or a match made in Heaven?

Korean figure skater, Kim Yu-Na, won the Gold in this year's Olympics in Canada while arch rival Japanese figure skater, Mao Asada, won the Silver.

Korea vs. Japan.
Kim Yu-Na vs. Mao Asada.
Kimono vs. Hanbok.
Gimbap vs. Sushi?????

While I have nothing much to say about the figure skaters, given my less than adequate knowledge on the sport, both girls showed great sportsmanship and really performed to the best of their abilities imho. I managed to watch a bit of Kim Yu-Na's routine in a Korean grocery store on Sunday and I must say she is really good. All the triple axles and the grace she showed was really amazing. I didn't manage to see Mao Asada's routine but for her to clinch Silver at the Olympics, she must have put up a good fight.

But when it comes down to the competition between the Korean Gimbap and the Japanese Sushi, it really is a close fight. To me, there is no clear winner as both are equally nice. To be painfully honest, both are sort of similar, yet while the Japanese Sushi (we're talking about the maki here) has more variations, quantity seldom beats quality. But to ask me to make a choice between the two, I'd rather not. Like my blog title suggests, I want to have my cake and eat it! I want the best of both worlds (: and who is to say I can't?

My sister currently has this obsession with bringing lunch boxes to school. I had that craze too when I was in J2. The other time I packed chicken cutlet with Japanese Curry and rice for her and she enjoyed it (I didn't cook it, mom did). This time, she requested for a spinoff of the Japanese Onigiri. Or rather, a simpler version of it. Just a mixture of Japanese rice with the bottled seasoning, shaped into balls. I suggested adding Gimbap because I was just browsing through recipes for it a few hours ago. Although it is rather easy to obtain the ingredients for Gimbap and Sushi, I didn't purposely go out of the way to purchase them. Come on, cooking is to create something with what you have on hand at the moment right? I had Japanese rice, nori (Japanese seaweed), spinach, eggs, Japanese Cucumber and the Japanese bottled wasabi seasoning for rice. So i got to work, mixing the Korean elements and Japanese elements to create a fusion!

Korean-Japanese Fusion Gimbap
adapted from mykoreankitchen
serves 1 hungry sister (makes 1 roll)

1 sheet of Japanese nori
1/2 cup cooked Japanese rice (short-stemmed)
1 strip of Japanese cucumber
about 3 stalks of spinach
1 egg
1/2 tsp sesame oil, divided + extra for garnishing
2 pinches of salt
(yellow radish strips, carrot strips, seasoned edible burdock roots, crab sticks, BBQ Gimbap ham were the other essential ingredients for the traditional Korean Gimbap which I didn't have and thus were omitted)
Sushi bamboo mat

1. Preparation:
Cook the rice (I can't give specific instructions on this as I used a 1:1 rice-water ratio for my rice cooker. It depends on how you normally cook rice). After rice is cooked, add 1/4 tsp of sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly to season.
Cut the cucumber into strips (1 cucumber gives 4-8 strips, depending on how thick you want your strips to be. I got 8 strips)
Beat the egg and fry it in a pan. Before the egg is fully cooked, roll the egg to make it stick (mykoreankitchen has pictures of the various steps). Tada! You've made an egg roll!
Rinse the spinach while you boil water. Put the spinach into the boiling water and cook for about a minute until spinach becomes soft. Do not overcook! Place the cooked spinach in a bowl and add 1/4 tsp of sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Mix it together to season.

2. Place the Japanese nori onto the bamboo mat.

3. Spread a thin layer of rice onto the nori, leaving the furthest edge of the nori from you rice-free (you can use your rice spatula and fingers to help).

4. Place your prepared ingredients (for me it's cucumber, egg roll and spinach) across in the middle of the rice.

5. Roll the nori away from you. If the nori doesn't stick, wet your fingers with water and dab it at the edge Alternatively, you can stick some grains of cooked rice at the end as an adhesive.

6. Brush some sesame oil onto the surface of the nori. Slice them and serve.

Japanese Rice Balls
my own simple recipe
serves 1 (makes about 5 small balls with diameter half the size of your pinky finger)

1/4 cup cooked Japanese rice
as much Japanese Wasabi rice seasoning you want

1. Place the cooked rice in a bowl and sprinkle on your desired amount of Wasabi rice seasoning. Mix thoroughly.

2. Using plastic gloves (so that the rice doesn't stick onto your hands), roll the seasoned rice into small balls of desired size. Serve as is.

I hope my sister has an enjoyable lunch in school today :D

And of course, to have an enjoyable lunch box lunch, one must have a gorgeous lunch box! Mom knows I'm crazy about Disney Princesses, except Snow White (another story), so she bought this awesome lunch box from Hong Kong. Okay I know it's kind of a childish craze but so what? We all have a child-side to us right?


denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

Lucky little sister! Turning pea green with envy here. I wouldn't be able to choose either *sigh* Nice lunchbox, btw ;)

denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

Lucky little sister! Turning pea green with envy here. I wouldn't be able to choose either *sigh* Nice lunchbox, btw ;)

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