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Kim-bap: Korean seaweed rolls

Kim-bap could be described as Korean Sushi, though they are more the equivalent of a sandwich to Koreans, being a popular snack, lunch or picnic food. The flavour is quite different to Japanese sushi rolls, as the rice is dressed with toasted sesame oil, and Kim-bap wouldn't be served with soy sauce or wasabi. We serve ours with a hot and sweet dipping sauce (recipe below). For more ideas, visit our post on Korean Cooking for Vegetarians or come along on one of our Korean Evening Courses.


Makes 4 rolls (each slice into 8 pieces) | Prep Time: 1 hour | Assembly Time: 30 minutes



  • 200g brown sushi rice
  • 450 ml water
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil


  • Sunflower oil or untoasted sesame oil for frying
  • Handful fresh spinach leaves
  • 100g firm tofu sliced and marinated in 2 tsp shoyu and 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 75g purple sweet potato
  • 75g yellow pickled daikon (mouli) radish
  • ¼ cucumber, deseeded
  • 4 sheets Nori seaweed sheets


  1. Wash the rice well, then place in a saucepan with the measured amount of water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer with the lid on for approximately 30 minutes until most of the water has evaporated. Switch off the heat and leave undid turned with the lid on for another 15 minutes to allow the rice to steam.
  2. Spread the cooked rice onto a large plate, sprinkle with the salt and sesame oil, turning it over with a spoon to combine and cool down.
  3. To prepare the fillings, wilt the spinach quickly in a frying pan with a little oil. Remove onto a plate to cool.
  4. Coat the tofu slices in the cornflour and sesame seeds, then fry until golden and crisp. Remove to a plate and cut into long thin strips.
  5. Bring a saucepan half full of water to the boil for blanching.
  6. Cut the carrot and sweet potato into long thin strips and blanch till just tender. Remove to a plate and allow to cool.
  7. Slice the pickled radish and cucumber into same size long thin strips and place beside the carrot and sweet potato.
  8. To assemble the kimbap rolls, have a finger bowl of cold water to hand, and place a sheet of nori onto the sushi mat.
  9. Place a quarter of the rice onto the nori, and using slightly wet fingers, spread in an even layer over the sheet, leaving a 1 cm border along the bottom edge closest to you, and 2 cm border along the top edge of the sheet furthest away. Wet your fingers to prevent the rice sticking to them.
  10. Take 1-2 tsp of the spinach and place in a thin line horizontally along the rice, approximately one third up from the bottom.
  11. Lay strips of the vegetables neatly alongside the spinach, alternating the colours attractively.
  12. Roll the mat from the bottom edge closest to you, firmly encasing and tucking in the filling, gently pressing down to keep the roll tight and intact. Continue to roll up the kimbap, and as you reach the top, dab a little water along the bare edge of nori to seal the roll. Set aside whilst you make the remains rolls.
  13. To serve, slice the rolls into eight pieces with a very sharp knife. It helps to moisten the blade with a little water to slice through cleanly. Eat straight away with a dipping sauce, or pack into a plastic box to eat the next day.

Hot and Sweet Sesame Dipping Sauce

There are many soy based dipping sauce recipes, and this is one based on several that combines the classic Korean flavours of chilli, soy, vinegar and sesame oil


  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp gochujang (or hot chilli sauce)
  • 1 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp white rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced finely


  1. Toast the sesame seeds in a hot dry frying pan. Place in a small bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

For more hands on experience with dishes like this one, check out our Far Eastern course selection!

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