Jumuk Bap – Leftovers Edition

It certainly has been quite a bit since I posted a recipe, right?  Miss me? Hope so. Before I continue with tonight’s recipe, let me start by saying – I am no Korean cook.  I’m not going to try and convince you that this recipe is in any way authentic.  But what it lacks in authenticity, it makes up for in simplicity, deliciousness, and convenience.  Jumuk Bap are sort of the Korean version of the more well-known Japanese Onigiri.  Both are essentially little rice balls of goodness.  My version of Jumuk (meaning “fist” in Korean) Bap (or Ju-Mok Bap, however you’d like to spell it in English) , I love making when there are leftovers around.  It’s an easy way to incorporate those leftover veggies and meat you have laying around from last night’s meal.

I would also like to say that today’s recipe may frustrate you a bit.  You know when you read those recipes with no real measurements? A dash of that, some of this, and a large heap of that over there? Yeah…this is one of those recipes.  Don’t worry, use your cooking skills and judgment for this one.  I promise you it isn’t as daunting as you may think it is right now.

Tonight’s version of Jumuk Bap, I used carrots, onions, spinach, and ground pork as the veggies + meat.  I would’ve ideally loved to have incorporated some bulgogi (recipe here), but alas, ground pork is what we had.  Go ahead and use whatever veggies and meat you think would work well in this or whatever you have on hand.  Go crazy – experiment!  Now, let’s get on with the details, shall we?

What You’ll Need:

1 cup of short-grain rice (Sushi rice would be ideal)**

1/2 cup of minced carrots

1/2 cup of minced onions

1/2 cup of diced spinach

Toasted Sesame Seeds (maybe a generous tablespoon or so)**

Chopped up Seaweed (I used about one sheet)

Sesame Oil

Soy Sauce (optional)

1 tsp (or so) of Rice Vinegar (optional)

What You’ll Do:

Cook up the rice.  I use a rice cooker (what Asian girl do you know doesn’t own a rice cooker?!), but if you cook your rice stove top, you’ll cook the rice according to the package (or 1 cup of sushi rice and 1 1/4 cup water).  Toss in the sesame seeds and the rice vinegar (if you’re using the rice vinegar) into the rice at this point and mix well.  Once the rice is cooked, set it aside to cool a bit (enough so that you’ll be able to handle it with your hands).  Coat a pan with a bit of sesame oil, enough to coat your vegetables.  I sauteed my carrots and onions first since those take a bit longer to cook than the spinach.

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Once those softened a bit and the onions became a bit translucent, I added in the spinach.

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I don’t like to add too much salt to our food, but if you’d like, go ahead and add soy sauce or salt to your veggies.  I personally think the meat (especially if you’re using one that was already prepared with spices and some salt, like bulgogi, flavors up these rice balls just wonderfully without added sodium.  I’m assuming at this point, since you’re using leftovers, the meat is already cooked.  If not, just go ahead and cook up your meat.  Like I mentioned earlier, I’m using some ground pork we had leftover.  Add your veggies and your meat to your rice and mix well.

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Sushi rice (or other short-grain rice) is pretty sticky, so before you delve on in and get your hands dirty, you’ll want to wet your hands with some cold water.  Otherwise, the rice will just stick to your hands.  Scoop up about a few tablespoons of the mixture and form it into a ball.  Just keep shaping it – it will come together nicely.  Keep going until your mixture is all gone.  Once the Jumuk Bap are room temperature, they’ve probably set quite well.  Wrap each ball with saran wrap – how easy and portable is that?!  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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**VARIATIONS**

I usually include a “Variations” section, but I suppose this one is more of a “Miscellaneous” section this time.  I really urge you to use a short-grain rice/sushi rice.  It really sticks together much nicer (that’s why your sushi stays together so nicely).  If you must, must, must use another rice, instead of forming the balls with your hands, you’ll want to rip a little saran wrap and place that in your hand. Scoop up the few tablespoons of the rice mixture into the saran wrap and pull the saran wrap around the mixture.  Shape it into a ball and then twist the rest of the saran wrap to close it on up.

My other tidbit is about the toasted sesame seeds.  Toasted sesame seeds are super easy to find, especially in an Asian grocery store.  However, if you happen to come across just regular ol’ sesame seeds, don’t worry!  Toasting sesame seeds is so quick and easy!  In a pan, just sprinkle your sesame seeds and turn up the heat.  Shake sesame seeds so that the bottom doesn’t burn.  Remove them from the heat once your seeds have browned a bit and when they get fragrant.  Voila!

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This is a great picnic snack, a great way to stuff in some extra veggies, and, like I said, a great way to use up those leftovers.  Sure, you may be using leftovers, but this is a great way to transform those leftovers into something that Tastes Oh-So-Good!

~ M ~

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