Kimari or gimmari, are Korean deep-fried seaweed rolls that are well-loved by locals! They are cheap, easy to eat on the go, and delicious! You can eat it as a snack, a starter, or paired with other Korean dishes to make a meal. Therefore, you can find these savoury treats at every corner in South Korea.
However, you can now try making them at home with a few simple ingredients! Our tried and tested recipe will give you an authentic taste of Korean street food at home. Learn more about how you can make this popular snack below.
What is Kimari?
Kimari (gimmari or gimari) is a popular Korean snack that you will find in street stalls and night markets. These deep fried seaweed rolls are a common street food like Korean corn dogs! They are made from seasoned glass noodles wrapped in seaweed. Then, they are coated in a light batter that is deep-fried until golden brown.
It can be served on its own or with any gimari sauce of your choice. Moreover, you can make homemade Korean deep-fried rolls with just a few simple ingredients.
How do you eat gimari?
Gimari can be eaten on its own or with your favourite dipping sauce of choice. But, Koreans will most commonly eat this with tteokbokki, a spicy rice cake dish.
Locals will usually eat Korean deep fried seaweed spring rolls by hand or using chopsticks. As gimmari is relatively mess-free and easy to eat on the go, they are popular street stalls in Seoul.
What do you eat with Gimmari?
Tteokbokki is usually eaten with gimmari. Tteokbokki is a quintessential dish that is found in snack bars, fast food restaurants, and street stalls throughout South Korea. The convenience and inexpensive cost of tteokbokki make the dish extremely popular among students and tourists.
Kimari and tteokbokki are often eaten together to complement the chewy texture of the rice cake. This is because, gimari provides an addicting crunch that is savoury and satisfying. Meanwhile, tteokbokki is often packed with noodles (to make rabokki), luncheon meat, sausages, and boiled eggs.
Tteokbokki is often served with battered and deep-fried foods called twigim. Twigim consists of various tempura-battered vegetables, dumplings, squid, shrimp, and of course, kimari. The tteokbokki and gimari are dipped into the sauce that makes the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and spicy.
While you are cooking up your seaweed spring rolls, make yourself a batch of fried seaweed chips. This is another treat that can be made with nori seaweed. Simply cut your nori sheets into bite-size pieces and batter them. Then, fry until golden brown.
Fried seaweed chips are a simple snack that you can make in a few minutes. Moreover, this snack also has many nutritional benefits owing to the healthy nori ingredient. Therefore, we recommend you making this snack both kids and adults will enjoy.
Each korean deep fried seaweed spring roll is approximately 50 calories per piece. Our gimmari recipe below yields 16 roll pieces.
Nori sheets and Korean glass noodles are the key ingredients in our kimari recipe. Fortunately, these ingredients can be found at your local Asian grocery store or purchased online!
The noodles are coated in a sauce that makes for a simplified version of a delicious dish called japchae. Japchae is a stir-fried glass noodle dish. It usually includes the addition of various vegetables like carrots and spinach. Hence, kimari makes it possible to enjoy this sit down noodle dish in bite sizes!
Kimari (Korean Fried Seaweed Roll)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- ½ cup all-pupose flour sifted
- ½ cup potato starch or corn starch, sifted
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup water
- Begin by boiling the glass noodles according to the package instructions. Cut into finger-length pieces and combine with the julienned carrots and garlic chives.
- Season the noodles with soy sauce, salt, sesame oil, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly until noodles and vegetables are coated in the sauce. Let it cool for a few minutes after cooking.
- Place a small amount of the noodle and vegetable mixture onto the nori seaweed sheet, arranging it into a row before rolling it. Brush some water on the edge of the nori sheet to allow it to stick as you seal it. Cut them into smaller bite-size pieces.
- Combine all the batter ingredients in a separate bowl. Gently drop your seaweed roll into the batter to coat it.
- Prepare the oil by heating it up to 180°C (or 360°F) in a non-stick pan. Drop your battered nori rolls into the oil and fry for around two to three minutes. Allow your deep-fried seaweed rolls to drain on a piece of kitchen towel.
- Serve the kimari hot on its own or as an accompaniment to tteokbokki.
- To make sure the noodles do not stick to one another, do not rinse them after boiling.
- To make the rolling of the noodles easier, let the noodles cool down after cooking. By doing this, the noodles will harden slightly and make it easier to roll.
- Glass noodles are also sometimes called sweet potato starch noodles or dangmyeon.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
K-makan Youtube channel made an easy-to-follow video recipe on how to make this dish. However, they added some onions in the noodle stir-fry and an egg in the batter to differentiate their recipe.
Air Fryer Version
If you prefer, you can also prepare gimari using an air fryer. This would remove the need to prepare a large amount of oil in a pan for deep frying. To achieve this, do the following.
- Line your air fryer tray with parchment paper. If not using parchment paper, oil your air fryer basket to prevent sticking.
- Batter your nori seaweed spring rolls and place them into the air fryer basket. Drizzle oil on top of your rolls or use an oil spray for an even coat.
- Then, air fry your rolls at about 200°C (or 390°F ) for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Turn the kimari pieces over and air fry for another 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Gimmari is best consumed immediately after cooking. However, gimmari can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. In addition, we recommend wrapping the fried seaweed rolls in plastic wrap and storing them in an air-tight container. Reheat the fried rolls in the air fryer with a drizzle of oil or fry once more for crispiness.
How do you cook frozen seaweed rolls?
With air fryers becoming a staple tool in kitchens, kimari can easily be prepared using the air fryer. However, they can also be prepared by frying in cooking oil until golden brown.
For those looking for another option, they can also be prepared in an oven. Lay the frozen gimmari on a parchment-lined tray and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375°F (about 190°C).
However, for pre-packed frozen Korean deep fried seaweed spring rolls, follow the instructions on the package.
Did you try making your own gimmari at home? Take a picture and share it with us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks. We would love to see your delicious rolls!