Today I’m going to show you how to make a simple but delicious Korean side dish: crispy and salty roasted seaweed sheets. Called gim-gui (김구이) in Korean, they are a common item in lunchboxes because they taste great and are a good source of protein, vitamin, minerals, and fiber. Their saltiness also makes them a great accompaniment to beer.
You may have seen roasted seaweed sold in little packets in your local grocery store. But I guarantee that roasting your own tastes 10 times better, and you can be sure it’s made just the way you want it. One of my friends in this video often buys seaweed sheets at Trader Joe’s, and he was blown away by how much better mine tasted! He thought I added something “special,” but as you see in this video, it’s pretty simple to make!
In the old days, roasted seaweed sheets weren’t sold in stores, so every Korean housewife roasted her own. Gim is usually sold in packs of 100 sheets, and I used to roast all 100, cut them into bite sized pieces, pack them into plastic bags (after squeezing all the air out), and keep them in the freezer. To keep them as fresh and crispy as possible, I would only keep a small amount outside of the freezer, sealed in a plastic container.
Like many other frugal housewives, I used to keep empty ramyeon packets on hand to use as gim-gui wrappers. When I put some gim-gui into my children’s lunchboxes, I slipped them into old ramyeon wrappers so they would stay fresh and crispy until lunchtime.
When I lived in Missouri in the 90s, my Japanese friend Yukiko came over to my house and saw my gim-gui in a container on my kitchen table. She tasted some and loved it. She thought that the Korean way of preparing gim-gui was better than the Japanese way, which doesn’t spread oil or salt on the gim before roasting it.
I love both ways. Roasting gim without oil and salt gives it a more of a perfectly sea smell, but oiling and salting gives it an extra crispy texture that I love.
Enjoy this recipe, and I hope you get a chance to make some delicious, nutritious lunchboxes with your gim-gui! Let me know if that happens, and send me a photo!
- Combine the cooking oil and sesame oil in a small bowl and put the salt in a small bowl. Place a few pieces of paper towel in front of you, where you can work.
- Put a sheet of gim on the paper towel with the shiny side up. Using your hand or a brush, spread a light layer of the oil mixture on the gim. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over top.
- Repeat until all 20 sheets oiled and seasoned with salt.
- Roll the seasoned gim up in the paper towel, so it soaks up a bit of the excess oil. Set aside.
- Heat up a large pan on the stove over medium heat, or heat a griddle to 350°F (about 180°C).
- Place a sheet of gim with the shiny side up on the griddle. Press the gim with a spatula for about 15 seconds until the bottom turns crispy and green.
- Add another sheet of gim on top of the first, with the rough side up. Flip them over and add another sheet of gim with the rough side up. Cook for about 15 seconds. Repeat this until all 20 sheets of gim turn very crispy and beautiful light green. Layering it this way will make the sheets crispier, as the inside sheets get roasted as you go. The key is to always keep the rough side out, so it ends up next to the grill and the shiny side in, so it never touches the grill.
- Remove from the heat. Cut them into bite size pieces. Serve with rice or as a side dish with beer.
- Keep the leftovers in a small sandwich bag or an airtight container and serve it over the next few days. If you roast a large quantity, keep the excess in the freezer, and only take it out as you need it.