Gimbap or kimbap is a Korean dish made from steamed white rice (bap) and various other ingredients, rolled in gim (sheets of dried laver seaweed) and served in bite-size slices. Gimbap is often eaten during picnics or outdoor events, or as a light lunch, served with takuan or kimchi.
Perfect for a snack or light meal, gimbap can be filled with any combination of vegetables, meat, tofu, and eggs.
Gimbap satisfies in many settings: as a light lunch for both adults and kids, as an easy-to-carry picnic and hiking snack, or even as a party appetizer. Learn the basics of these Korean-style seaweed and rice rolls and you'll be able to fill them with endless combinations of vegetables, meat, tofu, and eggs. They're even a great way to use up leftovers!
Some might think of gimbap or kimbap (pronounced "keem-bahp") simply as Korean sushi, but it really stands on its own. Wrapped inside layers of roasted seaweed (gim) and steamed rice (bap), the versatile fillings are often cooked and individually seasoned. While sushi rice is always vinegared, the rice for gimbap may be plain or seasoned with any combination of rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar, and salt. (The recipe below is based on my mother-in-law's method.) Finally, unlike sushi, gimbap is usually eaten without any soy sauce, wasabi, or ginger. This makes it a perfect finger food whether you're at home or on the go.
Now, what about those fillings? The rolls you see here are filled with a traditional combination of bright yellow pickled radish, quickly sautéed carrots, spinach seasoned with sesame oil and salt, and strips of egg — a colorful, multi-textured, and well balanced vegetarian combo. If you're vegan, you might swap the egg for avocado; if you eat meat, you might add bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) or imitation crabmeat. At our house, kimbap is often a vehicle for leftover rice and various odds and ends that we have in the fridge.