Having grown up in a traditional Korean home, there were many dishes that I was often embarrassed or afraid to introduce to my friends. Kimbap was one of them. I distinctly remember going on a preschool field trip to the circus where my mom had to pack a lunch for me to eat on the bus. My mother, having only known what kids in Korea ate for lunches, packed me two rolls of kimbap (aka. Sushi) neatly packed in what would today be known as a bento box. I looked around me and saw my fellow classmates eating ham or PB&J sandwiches, and so desperately didn’t want to be different with my rice rolls and seaweed. It was mortifying as a 5 year old to open my lunch and have to quickly eat my rice rolls to avoid as many “What is that?” questions from classmates. Who in preschool wants to be different? Certainly not me.
Flash forward thirty years later, and I have a different story to share. You see, my oldest son (who is now 12) loves kimbap and his favorite is triangle kimbap. He begs me every year to send him to school with these cute rice triangles and every year I turn him down. You see, I’m still scarred by my own experience in school where bringing something different and foreign for lunch made me somehow not normal. Succumbing to his ongoing request, I finally relinquished and sent him to school with seasoned rice and nori. Unsurprisingly, many of his friends asked what it was, but truly out of curiosity. Even more to my surprise many of them asked if they could try it. And some even LIKED it!!!
Triangle kimbap is a staple snack, lunch or even light dinner in our home. It’s a quick meal that can be made from staple pantry ingredients served with a green salad, veggies, or even soup. In fact, often in Korea, it is served alongside miso soup. Through my son and his adventurous classmates, I’ve learned that children today are far more open to trying new things and certainly more exposed to other cultures and food. It’s encouraging to see that my children can enjoy what they like, when they like it without fear or trepidation that someone might be offended by their snack or lunch. It’s comforting to know that our world and society has developed into a food-loving domain where all cultures are not only celebrated and appreciated but also sampled! Mash-shee-suh (Yummy in Korean)!
- 3 cups of cooked rice (can also substitute half with brown rice)
- 1 T. toasted sesame oil
- ¼ t. toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- ½ t. salt
- 1 t. rice vinegar
- tuna in oil, drained (I love the white tuna sold at Marcels)
- 3 sheets of sushi nori (cut in half)
- ¼ cup water
- Gently mix cooked rice with sesame oil, salt, vinegar, and sesame seeds. Place the triangle mold* on the top half of the ½ sheet of sushi nori and fill 1/3 with the seasoned rice. Add a small amount of tuna on top of the seasoned rice (about ½ tablespoon) and fill triangle mold with more seasoned rice. Tap with the top of the mold and push the rice through the mold using the top. Fold over the bottom half of the sushi nori over the rice triangle and fold sides down. Dip fingertips into the water and gently rub some water on the top sides of the nori still folded down and fold over the triangle.
- *Sushi Triangle Molds are available at most Asian grocery stores
- I often use tuna, but this dish can be prepared using cooked salmon, chicken, beef or even pickled vegetables. Just be sure that whatever you use to fill the triangle doesn’t have any liquid, as excess liquid can make the rice watery.