Seaweed rice rolls

Gimbap 김밥

Hi everybody!

Spring has come! It’s time for us to make something delicious, pack a lunch box, and go on a picnic.


I can’t fully enjoy any activity or event unless delicious food is on hand. Most Koreans are like this. I may spend one afternoon in Central Park here in New York, but before I do, I need to make gimbap. Packed with some water and an apple, my outing is more exciting knowing that it’s in my bag waiting for me. Oh, don’t forget some napkins and chopsticks!

If you do this, think about me when you unwrap your gimbap and sit down to eat! I’ll give you an imaginary compliment!

Korean seaweed rice rolls (Gimbap: 김밥)

Basically, gimbap is a seaweed rice roll made of gim (a sheet of dried seaweed) and bap (rice). So as long as you can roll some rice in gim, you can say: “Check out the gimbap that I made!”

For fillings, you can use chopped kimchi if you’re in a hurry, or make a classic gimbap like I do in this video. This recipe uses many colorful ingredients: carrot, eggs, danmuji, spinach (or cucumber), and beef. It takes a little longer to prepare. You can replace spinach with salted cucumber sticks, carrots with crab sticks (or sliced and sauteed red bell pepper), and beef with sausage or ham.

This recipe is a very authentic, classic style gimbap that I used to eat and make all the time. Gimbap can be made with all kinds of fillings, and I like almost all of them, except for a few like mayonnaise. I like mayonnaise in my potato salad and in my sandwich, but not in my gimbap. I just don’t like the greasy texture.

You may be wondering: “Maangchi, how come you didn’t post this classic gimbap sooner?”

Yes, years ago, I posted my tuna gimbap recipe with a tuna and avocado based filling. I’d been using this recipe for years, even before YouTube was invented, and every time I took it to a party, it was always a big hit. The filling is my own invention – tuna stir-fried with soy sauce, garlic, ground black pepper, and sugar.

So when I wanted to shoot a gimbap video, I chose it because I thought you guys would love it. But I always wanted to do a classic gimbap video too, so here it is!

I’ve been making and eating this classic gimbap for years, much longer than my tuna gimbap. It’s something that my mom used to make for me for my school picnic. Whenever the picnic was announced, the first thing to come into my mind was this delicious gimbap! On that day everyone brings gimbap from home, shares a bite with their friends, and tries to figure out which gimbap tastes better. We sat in the grass on the side of the mountain and shared our gimbap and other snacks like sweet candy, yang-gaeng, dried squid, peanuts, boiled chestnuts, and hard-boiled eggs with salt. Great times!

Many moms also send off their kids with an extra gimbap for their teachers, to express their thanks for the teacher’s hard work. You can imagine, some teachers end up with a lot of gimbap! Because it should be consumed that day, they usually share them with other teachers, or give them to students who didn’t bring their own gimbap. What a touching story.

All right, enough of the long introduction. My stories go on and on when I talk about certain food. : )

This is the recipe, let’s get serious!

Ingredients: (serves 2-3 : 5 rolls)

  • 5 sheets of gim (seaweed paper), roasted slightly
  • 4 cups cooked rice (the recipe is here, but make with 2 cups of short grain rice instead of 1 cup)
  • ½ pound beef skirt steak (or tenderloin, or ground beef)
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks (about 1½ cup)
  • 5 strips of yellow pickled radish (use pre-cut danmuji or cut into 8 inch long strips)
  • 8  to 10 ounces spinach (1 small bunch), blanched, rinsed in cold water, and strained
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown (or white) sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ tablespoons sesame oil
  • vegetable oil




  1. Place freshly made rice in a large, shallow bowl. Gently mix in ½ teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons sesame oil over top with a rice scoop or a wooden spoon.
  2. Let it cool down enough so it’s no longer steaming. Cover and set aside.


gimbap spinach

  1. Combine the blanched spinach, 2 minced garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a bowl.
  2. Mix well by hand and put it on a large platter with the sliced yellow pickled radish.


  1. Combine the carrot matchsticks with ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix well and let it sweat for 5 to 10 minutes. Heat a pan and add a few drops vegetable oil.
  2. Squeeze out excess water from the carrot, then saute for about 1 minute. Put it on the platter next to the spinach.

gimbap carrot


  1. Trim the fat from the skirt steaks and slice into ¼ inch wide, 3 to 5 inch strips. Put the strips into a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 minced garlic clove, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper,1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown (or white) sugar, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil.
    gimbap seasoned beef
  2. Mix well by hand.
  3. Set aside, and let them marinate while we do the egg strips.


  1. Crack 3 eggs in a bowl and add ¼ teaspoon salt. Beat it with fork and remove the stringy chalaza.
  2. Drizzle a few drops of oil on a heated 10 to 12 inch non-stick pan. Wipe off the excess with a paper towel so only a thin sheen of oil remains. Turn down the heat to low and pour the egg mixture into the pan. Spread it into a large circle so it fills the pan.
    gimbap egg filling
  3. When the bottom of the egg is cooked, flip it over with a spatula. Remove from the heat and let it cook slowly in the hot pan for about 5 minutes, with the ultimate goal of keeping the egg as yellow as possible, and not brown.
  4. Cut it into ½ inch wide strips. Put it next to the spinach on the platter.

kimbap fillings

Finish steaks:

  1. Heat up a pan over medium high heat and cook the marinated beef, stirring it with a wooden spoon until well cooked.
    beef filling for gimbap
  2. Set aside.

Let’s roll gimbap!

  1. Place a sheet of gim on a bamboo mat with the shiny side down. Evenly spread about ¾ cup of cooked rice over top of it, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on one side of the gim.
  2. Place beef, carrot, yellow pickled radish strip, a few egg strips, and spinach in the center of the rice.
    gimbap making
  3. Use both hands to roll the mat (along with gim and rice) over the fillings, so one edge of the rice and gim reaches the opposite edge. This centers the fillings in the roll, so they’ll be nicely in the middle when you slice it.
  4. Grab the mat with both hands and and press it tightly as you continue rolling the gimbap. Push out the mat as you roll, so it doesn’t get wrapped in the gimbap.
    rolling gimbaprolling gimbap rolling gimbap
  5. Remove the roll from the mat at the end and set the finished roll aside with the seam down, to seal it nicely.
  6. Repeat 4 more times with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Put some sesame oil on the finshed rolls and sprinkle some sesame seeds over top. Cut each roll into ¼ inch bite size pieces with a sharp knife, occasionally wiping it with a wet paper towel or cloth to clean the starch off and to ease cutting.
    Gimbap rolls
  8. Put it on a plate and serve immediately or pack it in a lunchbox.



  1. CrystalKim WI, USA joined 2/18
    Posted February 21st, 2018 at 5:15 pm | # |

    I love it when hubby makes me Gimbap!

    See full size image

  2. daphishere Corona, California joined 2/18
    Posted February 11th, 2018 at 12:48 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! My friends and I made kimbap using your recipe and it turned out pretty yummy. Thank you for the recipe, we enjoye it!

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 17th, 2018 at 2:03 pm | # |

      Wow, the rice looks like top quality, well made rice. I can see each grain. Colorful and delicious-looking, congratulations!

  3. vfpang96 Malaysia joined 1/18
    Posted January 17th, 2018 at 4:57 am | # |

    Can I make this a night before and eat it the next day?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 17th, 2018 at 2:05 pm | # |

      No, gimbap should be made the day you are eating it, because it’s best only for several hours. I always wake up early the day I make gimbap.

  4. aaagustwayne Philippines joined 1/18
    Posted January 16th, 2018 at 10:00 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi! I tried making my own rice rolls.. it wasn’t perfect but my family enjoyed it I hope the next time I do it better!

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 17th, 2018 at 2:06 pm | # |

      Even though this photo is a little blurry, I know your gimbap was delicious! Congratulations!

  5. BernardC Western Australia joined 12/17
    Posted December 27th, 2017 at 3:04 am | # |

    For a Christmas party.

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 17th, 2018 at 2:07 pm | # |

      Gorgeous! I would eat your gimbap first, at any Christmas party!

  6. Jhoy_melendrez14 philippines joined 10/17
    Posted October 23rd, 2017 at 1:36 am | # |

    hi maangchi is there any alternative for pickled radish?? or its optional??
    I’m planning to make this recipe for my husband. I’ve been tried almost all of your recipe and my husband love it very much especially your traditional kimchi.
    Me and my husband love korean food very much, i watched most of your video recipe and im so happy that my husband really like looking forward to learn more of your recipe maangchi!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 24th, 2017 at 11:06 pm | # |

      You can use cucumber. Cut cucumber into long strips and add some salt, sugar, and vinegar and mix well. Let it stand for about 10 minutes and dry them with paper towel and use them for gimbap.

  7. kel18 Canada joined 10/17
    Posted October 4th, 2017 at 8:22 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I’ve been watching your videos for a while now and finally got around to making your gimbap recipe. I switched out the beef for tuna and it was very good! Thank you very much for teaching us how to make Korean food!

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 19th, 2017 at 10:20 pm | # |

      Wow amazing! It’s a huge amount of gimbap and it all looks beautiful and delicious!

  8. VeganLegation Europe joined 6/17
    Posted September 25th, 2017 at 1:01 pm | # |

    Wonderful recipe Maangchi. We veganized it with completely animal cruelty free ingredients

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 19th, 2017 at 10:08 pm | # |

      It looks so pretty! What’s the filling?

      • VeganLegation Europe joined 6/17
        Posted October 20th, 2017 at 10:21 am | # |

        Thank you very much !! We used instead of eggs japanese/chinese tofu skin yuba, it looks very similar instead of meat we used soy meat (texturized vegetable protein).

  9. Matia Georgia, USA joined 9/17
    Posted September 23rd, 2017 at 1:34 pm | # |

    These taste wonderful! My teen-age daughter and I made them together. We did not realize that we did not center the ingredients very well until we were all done rolling. Oh, well. Will try to do better next time. This was our first time buying pickled radish, and it is delightful, too. How about pickled radish in potato salad or chicken salad? And of course, we must make more gimbap!

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 19th, 2017 at 10:10 pm | # |

      You did a great job – a lot of colorful fillings. It looks delicious, and I can picture you working with your teenage daughter together. I’m sure you made some nice memories that day.

  10. [email protected] Japan joined 9/17
    Posted September 22nd, 2017 at 3:14 pm | # |

    Hello, Maangchi!

    I was looking for a recipe with rice that would fit my husband’s taste for his lunch box, and yet I have found this. It is my first time and honestly I enjoyed a lot making this…

    I made only one roll since I ran out of cooked rice haha…

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 22nd, 2017 at 5:52 pm | # |

      Your gimbap looks stunning! Great photo, too!

  11. shimeringstars McKees Rocks joined 6/17
    Posted September 7th, 2017 at 9:05 pm | # |

    It’s so yummy and it sure made a lot too. I got quite a few compliments from a friend and my grandmother. I will definitely be making this again.

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 14th, 2017 at 8:47 am | # |

      Wow your gimbap looks perfect! Plenty of fillings inside, perfectly centered, no wonder you got so many compliments! Happy cooking!

  12. Zyrene ghaille Manila Philippines joined 7/17
    Posted July 15th, 2017 at 8:21 am | # |

    Hi maangchi, here’s my version of gimpab.. thank you for all your recipe’s and videos. This is actually my 1st time doing it and my 2nd korean dish that i have made. I just had a hard time rolling it. Its good nonetheless. I might be able to sell this and make money out of i have orders already.

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 20th, 2017 at 2:01 pm | # |

      I feel like making gimbap now after looking at your gimbap photo!

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