Gimbap Oppan Gangnam Style (Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls)

June 15, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4 or more
Author Notes

The mystery continues. How did Psy become so spry? Gimbap literally means “seaweed rice”. It is traditional picnic fare and a staple of a Korean schoolboy’s lunch. While it resembles Japanese sushi (and was certainly informed by that) it can be more savory than fishy---although the fishy part is not a bad thing. For example it might include bulgogi style beef as a filling. For a road trip pack along a traveling bento box* and hold in your cooler for that pit stop. The recipe that follows will give you some ideas but feel free to improvise. Did I say that it makes a great appetizer for a social gathering? Special equipment, a sushi rolling mat. —pierino

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups cooked short grain rice (2 to 1 ratio water to dry rice)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (1 tbs for rice, 1 tbs for marinade)
  • Soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flake) or substitute other jarred, dried red pepper
  • 2-3 slices smoked wild Alaskan salmon
  • 2 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon pickled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed
  • 3-4 sheets Nori style seaweed
  • Kim™ Korean hot sauce (or substitute your favorite vinegar based sauce such as Tabasco)
  1. In a hot, oiled grill pan or outside using your barbecue/hibachi grill the tofu just long enough to leave marks on both sides.
  2. Mix your marinade using half the sesame oil, a generous splash of soy sauce and the pepper flakes. Pour this over the warm grilled tofu. After a rest of about 15 minutes cut the tofu into batonnetes.
  3. Meanwhile add the remaining sesame oil to your hot cooked rice and using a rice paddle mix it up.
  4. Lay out a sheet of nori, shiny side down, on your sushi mat. Spread one cup of rice on your nori sheet, leaving a margin at the far end so that you can close it up. Have small bowl of water close by.
  5. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the rice. Add a dash of hot sauce. Place a slice of smoked salmon over this followed by a bit of the pickled ginger and then a batonnete of tofu.
  6. Carefully roll this up, first rolling the nori sheet over and then using the mat to control the roll process. This takes a little practice but it’s actually pretty easy. Be sure not to work the mat into the roll. As you approach the end of the roll, keep it tight by pulling the mass toward your body.
  7. To close dip your finger in water and then run it across that final, open margin of nori. Now seal and tighten again.
  8. Cut the roll in half and then cut the halves into three sections each. Repeat the process until you run out of ingredients.
  9. Place in your bento box or boxes* and keep chilled for your ride.
  10. *Note to cooks and shoppers, you can buy these travel ready boxes from They offer different sizes and colors.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • SunBunny
  • savorthis
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.

2 Reviews

SunBunny March 27, 2014
savorthis June 17, 2013
I have made a point of refusing to click on or order anything that said "gagnam style" ... but I had to take a gander and these look delish and exactly the kind of snack I go for.