Korean GimBap 김밥

Gimbap is a Korean version of sushi , made from steamed white rice and various other  ingredients ,be it vegetables or meat rolled in a sheet seaweed paper.  The difference were ingredients in Gimbap usually cooked (meaning no raw fish) and  Gimbap does not use vinegar in the rice mix (please correct me if I am wrong, this is based on my experience eating Gimbap in my Korea trip and also verified by a Korean friend of mine, though I noted there are many Gimbap recipe with  vinegar and salt mix  in the steam rice).

The name of Gimbap  literally translated as  seaweed rice  (Seaweed sheet/Nori  = Gim and Rice = Bap) and considered as one of the best fast food available for everyone and can be easily found anywhere.

I remember eating Gimbap for quick lunch at local eating place during my Seoul trip, whenever I don’t know what to order (due to language barrier) all I need to do is just to walk in to the store and mentioned the name or point to the Gimbap station and sign 1 Gimbap . Not sure whether it was by coincidence, the local eating place (not the big restaurant type) that I walk into, be it at the CBD area, or nearby train station  normally have a corner/section nearby the entrance or kitchen where there will be a small table with Gimbap ingredients and an auntie standing there rolling Gimbap.

Back to the post, I went to Korean mart yesterday to look for  yellow radish pickle (danmuji)  which is one of the “must to have” ingredient for Gimbap and I return with a new recipe from an  unknown Korean auntie that I bump into at the mart. Me and the auntie were queuing at the pickled food section waiting for the store attendance to serve us and the auntie start to converse with me in Korean in which I politely smile and said in English, sorry I don’t speak Korean. Upon hearing that the auntie  nodded and then start to speak with me in  Indonesian and ask what am I looking to buy ? I told her  I want to buy the radish pickle.Then she ask another question, what am I planning to do with the pickle? I said to make Gimbap. And then she enthusiastically  take a step closer to me and start to tell me on what to buy to make a good Gimbap.

At first I was a bit uncomfortable because I am not a conversational type of person, especially with stranger and also I found the auntie was a bit loud in her way of talking and I was a bit difficult to catch her accent and grammar. However looking at her shining faces and enthusiasm, I understand that she meant good and that was just her nature so I decided to accept her kindness in sharing her experience and recipe and I was grateful for that because I end up with a yummy and authentic Gimbap recipe.

Below is the result of my Gimbap


Key learning points (from an anonymous auntie) to make a good Gimbap :

  • All ingredients should be nicely located in the center of the rice,  so one should place the ingredients in the lower part and stack them  them tightly close to each other.
  • Brush a little of sesame oil on the ingredients and pat the ready rolls with a little sesame oil to give a glossy look
  • Use lettuce instead of blanch spinach for better crunchiness
  • Use  burdock root (woo-ung in Korean)

Ingredients :

  • Eggs – I use 2 eggs, beat and mix them with a little salt, sesame oil and fry them, slice into strips
  • Yellow pickled radish – cut into strips
  • Korean burdock root (the one I use was the ready made one from Korean mart and already cut into strips)
  • Carrot- cut into strips  (either blanched or quick stir fry  with a little sesame oil and salt)
  • Cucumber – remove seeds and cut into strips
  • A bunch of lettuces, cut into smaller pieces to match the size of other ingredients
  • A portion of white rice – let it cool before place them on Nori, otherwise it will crumple the Nori
  • 1 big sheet of Nori (Gim)
  • Dash of sesame oil

Other common Gimbap ingredients : Crab stick / Kani stick, Avocado, Ham, Blanched spinach, Beef, Tuna, etc.

How to :

  1. wrap bamboo roll with plastic warp to keep them clean and then place 1 sheet of Nori on top of the bamboo roll.
  2. spread the steam rice evenly on top of the Nori and then follow by the ingredients (stack the ingredients, not to spread them on the rice) and then  brush them with a little sesame oil.
  3. roll the gimbap gently using the bamboo roll, use a little rice to stick the edge of the Nori.
  4. Tap the rolled Gimbao with a little sesame oil for glossiness
  5. Cut into pieces

I did not take the step by step picture but basically it was almost the same with rolling sushi (pls check with earlier sushi post) or  any Youtube video with the detail tutorial for reference.

Below is the photos of the rolled Gimbap, they looks good and delicious, thanks  to anonymous auntie 🙂



10 thoughts on “Korean GimBap 김밥

    • Hi Allison, yes I was told that adding sesame seeds will enhance the taste and presentation, in my haste to take the photos so I can eat my Gimbap the soonest 🙂 I totally forgot about the sesame seeds. Thank you for the comment, it reminds me on what to improve in my next Gimbap. Cheers.

  1. These look Awesome. My next door neighbor Yoonsun just made some for us yesterday. These are so nice and she added some egg and also some cooked bulogi beef and my boys loved it. You can really make it with whatever you like. Sometimes she even adds kimchi.

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