Delicious Nutrition from the Briny Depths
Gim (김, dried seaweed) is a regular side dish in Korea. It’s crisp and tasty and is often seen sprinkled atop a range of dishes, adding its own unique flavor and texture.
Gim is made of seaweed that grows around rocks on the ocean floor and is dried into a rectangle. Produced in the clean water surrounding the Korean Peninsula, it is the ultimate nutrient from the sea. Gim is produced from late December to mid-April and is considered to reach its peak, in both taste and nutrition, in the winter.
Traditionally, only two countries enjoy gim as part of their regular diets. The Japanese enjoy gim (commonly referred to as ‘nori’) as a snack between meals or with drinks. Korean gim—which is thinner and glossier than nori—has received much enthusiasm from Japanese food connoisseurs.
Gim is becoming popular in other regions all over the world for its unique aroma, texture, and shape and is lovingly referred to as ‘black paper’ overseas
The nutritional value of gim has furthered the food’s overseas reputation as a number of western countries have begun marketing it as a health food/diet food. Gim exports have steadily increasing over recent years, joining the list of Korean items (like ginseng and kimchi) that have become very popular items internationally.
Gim has everything that the human body needs. It contains plenty of Vitamin A (good for the eyes) and Vitamin B (good for the brain) and is rich in iodine, a mineral severely lacking in most land plants. It is an important source of protein and has eight essential amino acids. The taurines found in gim are believed to help prevent high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis and help relieve hangovers. Gim is high in dietary fiber and contains a variety of important minerals: calcium, potassium, phosphate, and iron.
Types of Gim
There are more than 200 types of gim in Korea, but only four main types are readily available:
- • Dol-gim: rough surface filled with holes, both tasty and fragrant
- • Jaerae-gim (traditionally-used gim): called ‘Chosun Gim,’ roasted with sesame oil and salt
- • Gim for gimbap (Dried Seaweed Rolls or Korean Rolls): thick, tough, with few of gim’s characteristic small holes
- • Parae-gim
- - Gim mixed with parae (green algae) and dried
- - Relatively cheap compared with Dol-gim and Jaerae-gim
- - Has a unique flavor when roasted and is often dipped in seasoned soy sauce
Dishes Using Gim
Gim has a variety of uses: it can be used for gim salads (made of small sliced gim), as a garnish, or as a side dish when roasted and dipped in seasoned sesame oil. In fact, perilla oil or sesame oil is often used to bring out the full flavor of gim.