Korean Sushi (Kimbap)

Kimbap Gimbap

Sushi is a popular dish throughout the world because of its unique taste and refreshing qualities. Although I love making sushi, I thought that it would be nice to learn how to make kimbap for a change.

I was introduced to kimbap when my Korean ex-colleague made some and brought them to the team for an office gathering. When I had my first look at kimbap, I mistaken it for sushi. When I asked him what he has made, he replied – “It’s kimbap, the Korean version of a sushi.”

Kimbap is a popular picnic and snack food in Korea. I wonder why I didn’t know about it earlier!

My first bite of a kimbap was very inviting. I immediately got hooked on the dish as it tasted so delicious. My first attention was drawn towards the taste of the Korean pickled vegetables that were in the kimbap. I found them so appetizing and tempting!

That day was about 10 years ago! And I can’t believe I did not try to make that dish until now…

I’m sure many of you are wondering – what’s the difference between sushi and kimbap?

Well, the main difference is that in sushi, they use a lot of raw ingredients like raw salmon, tuna, cucumber and carrots. However, kimbap usually uses cooked ingredients for its filling like stir-fried beef, canned tuna and pickled vegetables. So if you are planning to prepare sushi for your friends and family at your next party but are afraid that they are not opened to eating raw fish, why not try making kimbap instead?

My first try at making kimbap was successful, though next time I’ll include a much thicker slice of the pickled radish to add more flavour to the dish. Although many recipes include sliced tenderloin beef for the kimbap filling, I opted to use minced beef instead to be more cost effective. Besides that, I used sushi rice and chose to season my rice with vinegar and use the sushi way of cooling and marinating the rice to make my kimbap. I’ve added sesame oil to the rice marinade as it is a classic marinade for kimbap.

If you’re looking forward to making kimbap but afraid of the rolling technique, don’t fret. I’ve specially produced a video documenting my step-by-step guide to rolling kimbap just for you!

Watch my video here:

Now that you know how to roll the kimbap, let’s get cooking!

Here’s my recipe:



7 pieces nori sheets

3 cups sushi rice

4 cups water

250g minced lean beef

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 bunch spinach, blanched

3-4 tbsp sesame seeds

7 strips yellow pickled radish

3 eggs, beaten

3 garlic cloves, minced

Soy sauce

Brown sugar, salt, black pepper and sesame oil to taste

1/3 cup white vinegar or more according to your preference


  • Marinade the beef with soy sauce, 1 clove minced garlic, ¼ tsp ground black pepper, brown sugar and a dash of sesame oil. Set aside.
  • Cook the rice with water in a rice cooker or saucepan. Once cooked, fluff up the rice and spread it in a shallow baking tray. Season with vinegar, sugar, salt and sesame oil to taste. Let the rice cool down by covering it with a damp cloth.
  • Combine blanched spinach with the remaining garlic, a sprinkling of salt and a dash of sesame oil. Squeeze the liquid out from the spinach.
  • Stir fry the carrots with some oil and a sprinkling of salt till slightly tender. Remove any access water from the carrots. Set aside.
  • Heat a frying pan with some oil and cook the beaten eggs by spreading the eggs evenly in the pan till slightly browned. Cut the eggs into thin strips.
  • Stir fry the beef until it is cooked. Set aside.
  • Place the nori, shiny side down on a bamboo mat.
  • Spread the cooked rice evenly on the bottom third of the nori sheet.

Spread rice on nori

  • Sprinkle rice with sesame seeds.

Sprinkle sesame seeds

  • Place the beef, carrots, pickled radish, egg strips and spinach in the center of the rice.

Put radish

  • Roll the kimbap with both hands and press firmly to ensure that the filling stays in a tight roll.
Roll kimbap step one

Step one to rolling the kimbap

Roll kimbap step two

Step two to rolling the kimbap

Rolled kimbap

Your kimbap will look like this once it is rolled

  • Cut the kimbap into bit-sized pieces.
Slicing kimbap step one

Step one to slicing the kimbap

Slicing kimbap step two

Step two to slicing the kimbap

Slicing kimbap step three

Step three to slicing the kimbap

  • Repeat the process until the remaining ingredients are finished.
  • Serve immediately.

That’s it! Now you can eat your kimbap and share it with your family and friends.

Thinking of making kimbap but not a big fan of beef?

Get creative with your kimbap filling ingredients! I found a link that may help you to learn about the various types of kimbap in Korea. Use this as a guide and let your creativity run wild to create more tempting kimbap with found ingredients in your panty!

Your guide to famous kimbap in Korea:


Have you heard about kimbap before? Have you eaten it in a Korean restaurant? If not, will you like to try it if given the opportunity?

I’d be happy to know.

Till next time I wish you all the best in your cooking adventures.

Happy cooking!


Caroline Poh