Korean Kimbap

By: Kourtney Paranteau • May 18, 2022

Kimbap recipe

Among the many things I love about being part Korean (my hair mostly), is the ability to keep stretching leftovers into stunning, craveable, and yeah, even Instagramable dishes. Last night's proteins can make tonight's pajeon shine, the scraps of kimchi at the bottom of a jar shimmer in tomorrow's kimchi-fried rice, and really almost anything can be rolled into the little jewels we call kimbap.

What many people think of “Korean sushi”, for me, tastes more like little pickle salads that are the perfect potluck fare and exactly the “healthy-ish” lunch I actually want to eat but don’t regret indulging in later. This recipe takes yesterday’s banchan (small side dishes) and wraps them together in a seaweed overcoat, but the key is balancing the Korean pickles and kimchi with the right amount of fat and savory elements. Each slice of kimbap is your opportunity to craft the perfect bite.

I like to start with an incredible “mise” of potential ingredients and challenge myself to make each wrapped kimbap a unique combination of flavors. And now, it’s your turn to do exactly that. Who’s ready to transform their leftovers?!

Makes 4 rolls


  • 2 cups cooked white rice

  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar

  • 2 tsp. white sugar

  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 4 sheets seaweed paper

  • Leftover bulgogi and/or cooked salmon

  • Kimchi and other banchans—japchae, sigumchi, carrot namul, kongnamul muchim—whatever you’re feeling

  • 1 raw Persian cucumber, cut into thin spears

  • Danmugi or Korean pickled radishes

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 2 eggs, scrambled and cut into ribbons

  • Sesame seeds

Kimbap ingredients

Mise En Place

This recipe is almost as self-explanatory as looking at the finished dish, but because I do love hearing myself talk (and type), I want to explain the nitty-gritty of getting the most gorgeous kimbaps.

First and foremost, you need your rice to be warm but not piping hot so that it will melt your seaweed wrapper. I recommend removing the rice pot from the heating element (stovetop or rice cooker) and using a rice paddle, thoroughly stirring in the vinegar, sugar and rice and letting the rice cool for another ten minutes while you set up your mise of ingredients.

Once the rice has cooled, lay out a sheet of nori and spread a thin layer of rice over the sheet, being mindful to leave about an inch and a half of blank seaweed space on the end of the sheet furthest from you.

Next, simply pick which prepared ingredient you’d like to incorporate, remembering not to overstuff your kimbap. Once you’ve made selections, gently roll the rice and seaweed into a log and seal the seaweed by dipping your index finger in water and painting along the rice-less edge of the sheet of seaweed. Slice the kimbap into ½-inch slices, wiping your knife with every slice. Repeat four times, and serve up your slices of art.

Kimbap preparation

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