Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bacon and Chive Rice Balls (Jumok bab)

Ju-mok bab is a Korean picnic food.  In its most basic form, it is exactly what the word means, a "rice ball".  Historically, jumok bab would be taken to work, when traveling or on a picnic.  Nowadays, these rice balls are made with vegetables or meat mixed in so that they truly are a balanced meal on the go.

Here is the version that I most often make for my family:

Bacon and Chive Rice Balls (Jumok bab)

4 cups cooked short grain rice
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/4 lb bacon, crispy fried and crumbled
1/2 carrot, finely diced and par boiled (optional)
2 baby bella mushrooms, finely diced(optional)
2 T rice oil
salt, to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until the ingredients are evenly mixed throughout the rice.  Add salt and taste.  Now is the time to make any adjustments to the meats, veggies or salt to ensure the flavor that you like.
  2. Place about 2 T of the mixture in your hand and squeeze.  The rice should stick together.  If not, add a little more oil and test again.  If you are still having trouble getting your rice to stick, add a little more rice.  Sometimes, if there is not enough rice or too many veggies/meat, the balls will fall apart.
  3. Once the mixture is ready, wet your hands slightly and begin forming balls.  Place 2 T of rice in your hand and squeeze until it sticks together.  Turn and squeeze the rice until it forms a ball.  The balls may be as large or small as you would like.
  4. Place the balls in a container and continue until all of the rice is used. 

NOTE 1:  There is a frozen short grain rice which can be microwaved to readiness for those who need a quick and simple cooked rice. 

NOTE 2:  Korean women wear gloves while forming the jumok bab.  I find the gloves to be a nuisance and use my bare hands or plastic wrap.  Whichever method you use, be sure to wash your hands well before beginning.  This rice is sticky and whatever is on your hands will end up in the ball, ultimately altering its flavor.

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