Bulgogi Kimbap (Korean Rice Rolls)

김밥

These vibrant and flavorful Korean rice rolls are a perfect on-the-go snack, ideal for picnics, road trips, and lunchboxes. The term 'Kimbap' stems from the Korean words 'kim' (seaweed) and 'bap' (rice), you can pack whatever you want inside. In this recipe, I use bulgogi beef, which is one of the most popular fillings in Korea. 

bulgogi kimbap

What proteins can I use for Kimbap?

When making Kimbap, you have a wide range of fillings to choose from including cooked or pickled vegetables, egg, meat, or seafood. If you prefer a vegan option, try vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, spinach, and avocado to add vibrant colors and textures to your rolls. Another tasty alternative is using tofu, which brings a protein-rich element to the dish. 

How to store Kimbap?

If you plan to batch cook and enjoy your kimbap later, keep the rolls uncut, tightly wrap them in plastic, and store them in the fridge. Just let it come to room temperature before slicing.

Ingredients

Discover each ingredient and where to buy it by clicking on the ingredient links below!

Ingredients

Makes 4 rice rolls

For the rice

for the filling

  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 15 ounces spinach
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten with a splash of water and a generous pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 large cucumbers, seeded and julienned
  • 6 ounces sweet yellow pickled radish (danmuji), julienned (or buy the pre-cut strips)
  • 6 ounces braised burdock, julienned (or buy the pre-cut strips)
  • 1 pound cooked beef bulgogi, sauce drained (reserve for another use—you can simply drizzle it over rice and eat with kimchi!)

TO ASSEMBLE

Method

for the rice

Cook the rice according to the package instructions. While still warm, mix in the sesame oil, sesame seeds, and salt. Set aside.

FOR THE FILLING

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mirin, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and salt to taste. Set dressing aside.

Sauté the carrots: Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat and drizzle with oil. Lightly sauté the carrots until just softened, adding a little water if necessary; do not brown them. Remove from heat, drain, and toss with half of the dressing.

Blanch the spinach: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and prepare an ice water bath. Salt the boiling water, then blanch the spinach until just wilted. Immediately transfer to the ice water bath, then drain well and squeeze out any excess water. Toss with the remaining half of the dressing.

Cook the egg: Drizzle a non-stick skillet with oil and heat over low heat. Tip in the beaten eggs and cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is set. Flip, keeping the egg pancake intact. Do not brown the egg. Once cooked, transfer to a cutting board and cut into long strips, about 1/2-inch thick.

TO ASSEMBLE

To roll the kimbap, prepare a bamboo rolling mat and a small bowl of water. Have your rice and all your fillings nearby.

Place a sheet of seaweed (shiny side down, and longer side across) on the bamboo mat and wet your fingertips in the water. Scoop about 3/4 cup of rice onto the seaweed and use your fingers to spread it out in an even layer, all the way to the edges of the seaweed.

Lay the spinach, carrots, cucumber, pickled radish, burdock, egg strips, and bulgogi across the rice layer, starting at about an inch from the bottom (the edge closest to you), in long horizontal stripes. Each ingredient stripe should be roughly 1/4-inch thick (but you can put more of the bulgogi). Pile them on top of each other in a loose pyramid shape, and try to place contrasting colors next to each other. Keep each ingredient together while rolling.

Using both hands, grab the bottom of the bamboo mat and use it to lift the bottom edge of the roll. Roll it up and away from you, tucking in the ingredients tightly with your fingers. Use the bamboo mat to apply firm, even pressure, and keep rolling upwards until the end. Press firmly across the finished roll to seal.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 4 rolls in total.

Brush toasted sesame oil on top of each roll and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Carefully oil a long, sharp knife (to prevent it from sticking to the rice) and cut the rolls into 1/2-inch pieces.

Serve immediately, alongside a sliced danmuji (pickled radish), or pack in an airtight container for a picnic.

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@judyjoochef Instagram profile imageIn my latest Q&A, I share how I choose what to order at new restaurants and my top tip for finding the best places to eat in a new city. 

When trying a new place, I aim to try something I’ve never had before, often asking for the house specialty or signature dish. Being a big fan of seafood, I usually lean towards pescatarian dishes.

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This piece dives into my adventures with Seoul Bird, exploring how Korean fried chicken became a fan favorite, and my aspirations to bring Korean flavors around the world.

It’s a story of change, creativity, and the love of food that has shaped my life. Check out the full article to learn more about my slightly random path into the culinary world. Link in bio!

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@judyjoochef Instagram profile imageFamily meals are a cornerstone of Korean culture, where the table is adorned with an array of small dishes (banchan), showcasing a main course often barbecued meat cooked on a grill built into the table. 

One of the favourites is kalbi (marinated beef short-rib), which is not just a meal, but a convivial experience, bringing everyone together. It’s served with lettuce or perilla leaves (ssam), allowing everyone to wrap their meat with rice, kimchi, ssamjang hot sauce, or their preferred sides.

Thanks for the feature @goodfoodeveryday !  Check out their website (or mine) for the full recipe. •
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@judyjoochef Instagram profile imageHailing from the great state of New Jersey– I grew up eating buffalo wings. 

There was even a buffalo wings site on campus at my college in NYC called Pluck U. (who else remembers this chain? It was started by Columbia and NYU grads). It was open late, and our go to place for midnight munchies!

And, yes they do come from Buffalo, NY, a city upstate known for their bitterly cold winters and their nuclear hot wings. 

Here, I have twisted up the traditional Buffalo wings with a fusion of East meets West. Believe me, I am a mega fan of the original wing slathered in Frank’s hot sauce. But, these Korean-esque wings are drenched in a delectably spicy gochujang based hot sauce, offering a more earthy and umami flavor. 

With the perfect balance of heat, tang, and a hint of sweetness, each bite is an adventure in itself.

Elevate your Korean Buffalo Wings experience with these tips:

Ensure your wings are well-coated in potato starch for that irresistible crunch.

Fry to golden perfection and toss well in the sauce for a glossy spicy finish.

Serve hot and garnish with sesame seeds and finely chopped spring onions for an added burst of freshness. 

And, a side of your fave blue cheese dressing! 

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