How to Make Gimbap: A Korean Dish Making Tutorial

When we were in Korea, my fiance‘s mom hosted a Gimbap-making tutorial session for us. What is a Gimbap? Gimbap, also called as Kimbap, is a Korean dish made from steamed white rice (bap) and various ingredients of your choice, which are rolled up in a roasted seaweed (kim) sheet. Actually, it is popularly dubbed as the ‘Korean sushi’ because of its resemblance to the Japanese rolls, but it really stands on its own. Unlike sushi, it doesn’t use sushi rice, the rice with vinegar, and its ingredients are usually cooked. Also, you can eat it on its own, no sauce needed.

Ingredients were already prepared when we arrived at their home. Since the literal translations of the word Gimbap is seaweed rice, it figures what the two basic ingredients of the dish are – seaweed sheets and rice. Like I’ve mentioned, you can customize the filling of your Gimbap. It’s like a sandwich that you can customize the filling to fit any diet, occasion or palate. There are many variations on the filling including fish, meat, eggs, and vegetables. You can roll pretty anything inside the seaweed sheet with rice. For our fillling, we used spinach, carrots, spams (lots of it because sometimes, you’ll be tempted to eat some while making your mouthwatering Gimbap), scrambled egg, and radish. For a tight and stable Gimbap, we used a bamboo mat when rolling the seaweed.

The Ingredients and our dumpling-like snack (Jacob’s thoughtful mom made us a snack that we can eat while making something to eat)


Put strips of everything on the seaweed sheet and rice then, roll


Slicing timeeeee! Unleash your inner ninja for faster slicing!

The face I make while making Gimbap:

TADDAAAAA! Gimbap by yours truly…

Below is a Gimbap recipe from

How To Make Gimbap
Makes about 40 pieces
What You Need
3 cups warm, cooked short-grain white rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
5 sheets roasted seaweed (also called gim, nori, or laver)
4 to 6 fillings of your choice
Toasted sesame oil

Fillings shown here:
5 pencil-size strips pickled daikon radish (also called danmuji or takuan)
1 carrot, julienned and sautéed in sesame oil until crisp-tender
4 cups spinach, blanched, squeezed, and seasoned with sesame and salt
2-egg omelet with sesame oil and salt, cut into pencil-size strips

Other ideas for fillings:
Fresh cucumber, bell pepper, or avocado slices
Julienned and sautéed burdock root
Sautéed shiitake or portobello mushrooms
Kimchi and other pickled vegetables
Baked or fried tofu
Cooked meat such as beef, ham, imitation crab, or fish cake

Bamboo rolling mat
Small bowl of warm water
Clean cloth or paper towel
Pastry brush (optional)
Cutting board and sharp chef’s knife

1. Season the rice. In a small bowl, stir the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves. Pour it over the warm rice along with 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds and gently but thoroughly mix together. Let cool.

2. Organize your workspace. Arrange your ingredients and tools so that everything will be close at hand when needed. Place the bamboo rolling mat on a flat surface with the long side nearest you (the bamboo sticks should be horizontal). Lay out the seaweed sheets, a plate or tray with fillings, and a small bowl of warm water. Also designate a place to put your finished rolls.

3. Position the seaweed on top of the bamboo mat. With dry hands, place one sheet of seaweed on the bamboo rolling mat with the shiny side down and the long side nearest you.

4. Spread a layer of rice on top of the seaweed. Lightly moisten your hands with water and evenly spread one-fifth of the rice (about 2/3 cup) on the lower two-thirds of the seaweed, leaving the top third of the seaweed empty. If the rice sticks to your fingers as you work, lightly dip them in water (avoid using too much water as it can make the seaweed soggy).

5. Arrange the fillings on top of the rice. About an inch up from the bottom of the rice, arrange the fillings in neat, horizontal rows.

6. Begin rolling. Beginning on the side nearest you, roll the bamboo mat up and over the fillings. Use firm but gentle pressure to hold the ingredients in place.

7. Continue rolling. As you’re rolling forward, pull the mat up and out so it doesn’t get caught in the roll. Keep rolling and releasing the mat until you form a compact cylinder.

8. Seal and season the roll. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edge of the seaweed to seal the roll. Wrap the entire bamboo mat around the roll and give it a firm but gentle squeeze. Using your hands or a pastry brush, lightly coat the outside of the roll with sesame oil to give it shine and prevent it from drying out. Set it aside.

9. Cut into bite-size pieces. Begin cutting when all the rolls are complete. Using a towel or pastry brush, coat the blade of the knife with a thin layer of sesame oil. Slice the roll into bite-size pieces, periodically wiping the blade and re-applying sesame oil to prevent sticking.

10. Garnish with sesame seeds (optional). Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the cut rolls.

11. Serve. Serve gimbap at room temperature. Best eaten the same day.

Additional Notes:
• Although short-grain white rice has the best texture, gimbap can also be made with short-grain brown rice or other grains. If using leftover rice, warm it up before seasoning with the vinegar, sugar, and salt mixture.
• No dipping sauce is necessary but if you like, you can use yangnyeomjang Korean


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