Spicy Tuna Kimbap

October  4, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food stylist: Yossy Arefi. Prop stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • makes 32 pieces kimbap
Author Notes

Kimbap are a popular Korean snack, perfect for working desk lunches and often packed for car trips and picnics. The rice rolls are filled with various vegetables and meats, wrapped in crispy seaweed and cut into bite-sized pieces. This recipe includes cooking and seasoning the rice, but in a pinch plain leftover sushi rice will work. The rich and spicy filling comes together quickly, with meaty flaked tuna, fiery sriracha hot sauce, mayo, fresh scallions and a toasty roasted sesame oil. Combined with buttery avocado and tangy pickles, the kimbap delivers bites that are creamy and crunchy all at once.

Canned tuna is a popular staple pantry item for good reason - packed with protein and valuable nutrients, it’s an affordable and super versatile ingredient that easily transforms into satisfying meals. Choose high-quality tuna for best flavor and texture, and look for brands that practice sustainable fishing methods (pole or line-caught) that reduce undesirable bycatch of other species.

Danmuji, a pickled daikon radish with a vibrant bright yellow color, is a classic filling used in kimbap. It’s super crunchy, tangy and slightly sweet and can be found in Asian markets in the refrigerated section. A bamboo mat does make rolling kimbap easier, but a piece of parchment paper that’s a few inches larger than the seaweed is a workable alternative. —kay chun

What You'll Need
  • Seasoned Rice
  • 1 cup short grain white rice, rinsed until water runs clear
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Kimbap
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided, plus more for brushing
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 (5-ounce) cans high-quality tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as safflower or canola
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 4 roasted seaweed sheets
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 Haas avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 4 (8-inch-thick) strips danmuji, or Korean pickled radish
  1. Make the Seasoned Rice: In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and 1 ½ cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a medium bowl. Add salt and sesame oil and gently mix. Let cool. (You should have about 3 cups) 2. Meanwhile, make the Filling: In a small skillet or saucepan, combine the carrot and ¼ cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and steam for 2 minutes, then uncover and cook until all of the water is absorbed, about 1 minute longer. Stir in ½ teaspoon of the sesame oil and season with salt. Transfer to a plate to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, mayonnaise, oil, scallions, sriracha and the remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil and season with salt. Mix well.
  3. Assemble the Kimbap: Have a small bowl of water ready for dipping fingertips, to help prevent them from sticking to the rice. Arrange 1 seaweed sheet shiny side-down on the bamboo mat. Spread over one-quarter of the rice (about ¾ cup) in an even layer, leaving a 1-inch border at the bottom and 2-inch border at the top. On the bottom edge of rice, arrange one-quarter of each filling in horizontal rows (tuna, carrots, arugula, avocado and pickled radish).
  4. Lift the bottom edge of the seaweed up and over the filling, using your fingers to tuck in the filling. Tightly roll up, using the bamboo mat to apply even pressure and compress the roll together. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining seaweed, rice and filling.
  5. Brush the outside of the rolls with sesame oil. Using a serrated knife, slice each kimbap into 8 equal rounds. Enjoy immediately or keep covered at room temperature for a few hours.

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