Vegetarian Kimbap


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With a colorful center and sesame flavored rice, kimbap makes a delicious snack or light lunch to eat at home, school, or work!



Kimbap Rice 

  • 3 cups cooked Japanese rice, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Kimbap Filling

  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • Danmuji (yellow pickled radish or takuan), sliced lengthwise into sticks
  • 1/2 English cucumber cut lengthwise, seeds scooped out with a small spoon
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced lengthwise into thin sticks
  • 3 1/2 cups baby spinach

Additional ingredient


  1. To make the kimbap rice, place the rice in a bowl and add the sesame oil and salt. Mix using a rice paddle until the rice is evenly coated. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside.
  2. In a medium pan, add 1 teaspoon sesame oil and turn the heat to medium. Add the whisked eggs and tilt the pan to spread the mixture evenly. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the omelette if fully cooked.
  3. Carefully transfer the omelette to a cutting board and let cool for 1-2 minutes. Slice into sticks and place them on a large plate.  Arrange the takuan (pickled daikon) next to the omelette sticks.
  4. Using the same pan for the omelette, add the remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil and turn the heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add the carrot and cucumber sticks and cook for 1 minute. Turn the heat off and transfer the vegetables to the plate, next to the daikon and omelette.
  5. Bring a small pot of salted water to boil and add the spinach. Boil for 1 minute and drain. Rinse the spinach under cold water and gently squeeze out the excess water. Take your time squeezing out the water, squeeze as much out as you can. Transfer the spinach to a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Season with salt and set aside.
  6. Place a bamboo mat on a flat surface and add a sheet of nori seaweed on top, shiny face down.
  7. Fill a small bowl with water and place it next to the bamboo mat.
  8. Add a little sesame oil to a small bowl and place it next to the bamboo mat, with a brush.
  9. Put about 3/4 cup of rice on the seaweed and spread it evenly across, parallel from you, leaving about 1/3 of the seaweed – the side furthest from you- empty. 
  10. Add the fillings to the center of the rice – I recommend calculating and separating the fillings equally so you have the same amount for 3-4 kimbap rolls – and start rolling.
  11. Grab the bottom edges of the mat with your thumbs while holding on to the filling with your other fingers. Roll it into a tight cylinder, tucking the fillings in firmly and slightly lift the edge of the bamboo mat.
  12. Roll it forward while using a little pressure but not so much that the filling spills out.
  13. Dip your index finger in water and lightly wet the part of the seaweed that’s empty.
  14. Keep rolling and let go of the mat when you get to the other end.
  15.  Lightly brush the seaweed with some sesame oil and slice kimbap into bite size pieces. Serve immediately (kimbap tastes best fresh).


For vegan kimbap:

Substitute the eggs for firm tofu, baked tofu, or imitation ham.

For leftovers:

Break 1-2 eggs in a bowl and whisk them. Slice your kimbap into bite size pieces (if it’s not sliced already) and dip each piece in egg, making sure to coat it on both sides. Add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to a pan and turn the heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add the kimbap pieces and cook on each side for 1-2 minutes, until the egg is golden brown. Transfer to a plate and serve.

To make it even more interesting, you can dip the kimbap in panko breadcrumbs after it’s been dipped egg. Cook for an additional minute or two and serve.


Keywords: maki, sushi, appetizer

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