Tuna gimbap

Chamchi-gimbap 참치김밥

Hello everybody!

I’m excited to share my recipe for tuna gimbap (chamchi-gimbap: 참치김밥) with you today. The flaky, salty, and sweet tuna tastes delightful and goes well with rice and the other fillings: avocado, yellow pickled radish, and crab sticks. The various tastes and textures make for a lot of variety in one bite!

I’ve been making tuna gimbap this way for a long time. All my friends and family loved this gimbap so it was one of the first recipes I posted to YouTube in 2007. Since then I’ve refined the recipe a bit and I remade the video in HD to share with you all.

Enjoy the recipe and if you like gimbap check out some of my other gimbap recipes, too!how to make tuna kimbap


Makes 4 rolls (Serves 2 to 4)

For rice:

For tuna filling:

  • 1 (5-ounce) can of tuna, preferably oil-packed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar), optional

For gimbap:


Prepare the rice:

  1. Put the freshly made steamy rice into a large bowl. Add salt and vinegar and gently fold it in with a rice scoop or a wooden spoon.
  2. Set aside and let the rice cool down.

Prepare the tuna:

  1. Heat a small pan over medium high heat. Add the tuna, garlic, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, soy sauce, and ground black pepper.
  2. Stir the mixture for about 2 minutes with a wooden spoon until the tuna turns a little flaky. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir in the honey (or sugar) if you use. Set aside.chamchi gimbap

Prepare the artificial crab sticks:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Swirl the skillet around so the oil evenly coats it.
  2. Add the crab sticks, white side down. Cook for about 1 minute until the bottoms turn soft and light brown.
  3. Turn them over with a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large platter.

Prepare the danmuji (yellow pickled radish) and avocado:

  1. Put the 4 strips of danmuji on the platter, next to the crab sticks.
  2. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the seed. Slice it lengthwise while it’s still in its shell.
  3. Scoop the slices out with a large spoon and transfer them to the platter. Squeeze the lemon over the avocado to prevent it from going brown.Kimbap making

Roll the gimbap:

  1. Divide the rice into 4 portions. Place a sheet of gim on a gimbal (a bamboo mat for making gimbap), with the shiny side down. Evenly spread 1 portion of rice over the gim, leaving a 1-inch margin uncovered along the top edge.chamchi kimbap
  2. Divide the tuna mixture into 4 portions. Spread one portion across the middle of the rice, in a strip lengthwise. Add a strip of danmuji, some avocado, and a crab stick.
  3. Use both hands to pick up the bottom edge of the mat. Use it to roll the gim up and over the fillings so the rice surrounds them.tuna kimbap
  4. Squeeze the mat gently and then continue rolling the gim in the mat, squeezing the mat regularly to get a tight roll.
  5. Unroll the mat and remove the roll from the mat. Set the roll aside, with the seam down.
  6. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 3 more rolls.
  7. Gently brush the rest of the 2 teaspoons sesame oil over the rolls by hand or with a basting brush.
  8. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over top.Kimbap
  9. Cut each roll into ⅓ to ½-inch slices with a sharp knife. For easier slicing, wipe your knife with a wet paper towel (or kitchen cloth) as you go.kimbap


Arrange the slices on a plate or pack in a lunchbox. The gimbap will keep for several hours at room temperature.

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  1. Hi, I was wondering.
    Do I have to use the sushi rice(the sticky kind) while making this or can I just use any kind of rice?

  2. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    I’m glad to hear that! Wonderful!

  3. I made this this with my friends last weekend and they loved it.. especially the tuna, it is delicious!

  4. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    I don’t like to use 스팸 in my kimbap, but if you want, do it. You can add cucumber,eggs, fish cake, artificial crab…etc. Yes, sushi rice must be used.

  5. and by the way how do you know your rice is the right kind for kimbap? i have short grain rice. but not sure its sushi rice? any particular brand you recommend?

  6. hi maangchi, i wanted to make kimbap but with the spam looking thing? im told this is called ham for kimbap? not sure. do you know what looks like? also, what else can be put in the kimbap do you know? i want to make this too but im not sure if i will do it right.

  7. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Please leave your question on the forum because I would like to share your question with more people. Someone else may give you good answer. If nobody answers for a few days, I will leave my reply there. I hope you understand this. You can just copy your question and paste it here.

  8. Hi Maangchi!

    I have a problem: My club is participating in a huge fair that our university hold every year in April. We are planning to make Kimbab to sell. We’re going to make the rolls the day/night before, wrap them up individually in plastic wrap, and then hand the whole rolls to people when they buy it. We need to refrigerate it because of food safety reasons. A lot of my friends have expressed concern that the rice will be rock hard if we make it the day before, but I know that we won’t be able to produce as much if we make it the day of on site.

    So, my questions are: Is it okay to make kimbab the day before, and will it taste just fine the next day? Does refrigerating the vinegar-rice change its flavor?

    Also, is the imitation crab meat rather expensive?

    Thanks so much for help! :D


    Thanks! =}

  9. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    That’s a really good question. Actually someone else asked about it and I posted my reply on the forum under rice cake soup. I’m copying and pasting my answer here.

    ..There are 2 kinds of soy sauce that Koreans use: dark soy sauce (“jinganjang”(진간장)and soy sauce for soup called “gukganjang” (“국간장” in Korean)

    Koreans use gukganjang (soy sauce for soup) instead of fish sauce. I’m living in New York , so it’s difficult to make homemade gukganjang (soy sauce for soup). I know they sell it at a Korean grocery store here, but the taste is a little different from the soy sauce that I used to use in Korea.

    I found fish sauce gives the similar taste of well fermented gukganjang. That’s why I use fish sauce (“aekjjeot”: 액젓 in Korean) in ddeokguk. ”

    thank you Janet. Check the forum, too!

  10. Hi Maangchi,
    Is there any particular reason you use fish sauce in so many of your dishes? I’ve never used it before in Korean cooking and was wondering what the taste difference is?

  11. I love kimbap with tuna and Kkaen nip. Have you tried that before? It’s really good! Thanks for your great videos!

  12. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    haha, your name is not “hi, maangchi unni”! lol
    Yes, someday I will post how to make California roll. Check out YouTube. You may be able to see it now.
    Yes, you can use any kind of vinegar. I like the flavor of apple vinegar, but everybody’s preference is different. It’s up to you.

  13. oops i’m sorry i spelt your name wrong and i forgot to put my name in the above comment. i was so excited, i forgot haha.

    Hi Maangchi unni, my name is esther :)

  14. I was wondering if you can tell me how to make california rolls. I love kimbap but i always wanted to know how to roll it backwards so that the rice is on the outside.
    would i put plastic wrap on the bamboo sheet and run sesame oil on it?
    also if i chose not to use the apple vinegar, can i use regular white vinegar or would rice vinegar be better?
    Thanks so much, you are such a wonderful person to share all your recipes.

  15. Okay great thank you! I go to the H Mart in Jersey!

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