Seaweed Rice Balls
We all know that you cannot help but feel hungry while watching the amazingly delicious food they eat in K-dramas. If you are an avid K-drama watcher, you have most likely been familiar with these Seaweed Rice Balls. Rice is usually served warm in a metallic bowl in restaurants. Guests can mix the layered ingredients together with a pair of plastic gloves before rolling their own rice balls. Koreans occasionally make Seaweed Rice Balls to ease the pain from eating spicy food as rice is one of the food items that can extinguish the fire in your mouth.
Korean rice ball is called Jumeokbap (주먹밥) in Korean, which literally translated as “fist rice.” The reason why it has that funny name is that this dish consists of hand-shaped rice balls, no matter the size, ingredients, or seasonings used. The humble beginning of Jumeokbap can be traced from the old days when Koreans did not have the luxury and had to prepare simple and easy meals for basic sustenance. Jumeokbap is versatile because it is easy to make and take anywhere to eat. Nowadays, families use leftover rice with a few other ingredients, form them into balls using their hands for convenient travel food or lunchbox additions.
I have a low tolerance to spicy food but cannot help to fulfill my cravings towards Korean food. We all know that Koreans love a good spicy dish. They use chili peppers in a number of dishes, and one of them is Dakgangjeong. Dakgangjeong (닭강정) is a deep-fried crispy chicken dish glazed in a sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce. I made this dish after watching a Korean variety show called Youn’s Kitchen. Seaweed Rice Balls is basically a tongue saver to relieve the spiciness of the sauce.
This recipe is a great way to use leftover seaweed sheets. I use kimbap’s seaweed sheets for the recipe, then I cut them into small pieces with a scissor. You can also put them into a food processor and process until fully shredded. It would be great to use the already shredded seaweed if you can find some. In addition, you can also use seasoned seaweed sheets for the recipe, but you should reduce the soy sauce because they themself are salty enough. Please feel free to add more ingredients into the rice mixture as long as it is not too oily. Oily food will make your rice balls fall apart and not sticky enough to hold together.
Seaweed Rice Balls
- 2 cups steaming short-medium grain rice
- 3 sheets seaweed sheets
- 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil + more for coating the plastic glove
- sesame seeds (for topping)
Cut the seaweed sheets into small pieces with a scissor or put the seaweed sheets into a food processor and process until coarsely shredded.
In a medium bowl, mix rice, shredded seaweed, soy sauce, and sesame oil until incorporated.
Put a plastic glove on one hand. Add a little bit of oil on the plastic glove so that the rice does not stick. Put 2 tablespoons of rice on your palm and squeeze lightly until the rice sticks together. Shape it into a ball.
Repeat until the rice is finished. Serve with sesame seeds.