If you are looking for a quick snack, these seaweed rice balls are the perfect choice. They are a great leftover rice recipe and can be made with items likely already in your pantry.
What is jumeokbap?
Jumeokbap is a Korean word that directly translates to “fist rice”. This is because the Korean-style rice balls are molded into the shape of a fist.
They typically consist of rice (of course), various fillings like meat or vegetables and an outer coating of gim (seaweed) flakes.
You are a popular snack that can be packed in a lunch box or enjoyed fresh. They can also be found at the convenience store in Korea as a quick meal.
Many countries have their own varieties of rice balls. In Japan, rice balls are called “onigiri”, while in India, rice balls are called “mandaputta”.
The origins of jumeokbap are said to go back to the 17th century in Korea. The popularity grew as the rice balls were recognized to be quick, easy meals.
Now, jumeokbap is a rather popular dish in Korea and can be found in convenience stores as well as restaurants.
Ingredients for Korean Rice Balls
Before making this recipe, make sure you have all the ingredients you need. All the ingredients for this recipe are listed down below alongside possible alternatives. For the best results, I recommend sticking to the original ingredients.
|White short grain rice
|White medium grain rice, brown short grain rice, brown medium grain rice
|Canned salmon, pork floss
|Japanese mayo (Kewpie)
|Sesame seeds, shredded gim (nori sheet), seaweed flakes, black sesame seeds
Where to buy
Some ingredients in particular that may be hard to find are short-grain rice, sesame oil, kewpie mayo and furikake. You can find sesame oil and furikake at Trader Joe’s if you have one near you.
How to make Korean Rice Balls
In a large mixing bowl, add the room temperature cooked rice (prepare on the stovetop or in a rice cooker). Drizzle the sesame oil over the rice and use a rice paddle fold until the rice is evenly coated.
Add the canned tuna and Japanese mayo, then mix to combine.
On a small plate, add the furikake. Gently shake to evenly distribute the seasoning on the plate.
Using a wet hand, a gloved hand, or use plastic wrap, add a large spoonful of the rice mixture. Use your hand to shape into a ball.
Roll the ball in the furikake mixture until well coated. Set aside on a plate and repeat until all the rice is formed into balls and coated with furikake.
How to store the leftovers
If you have any leftovers, transfer them to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. They should stay good for about 2-3 days.
Make sure you are transferring your rice balls to the refrigerator as soon as possible after preparing them. Since the rice has already sat out to reach room temperature, the risk of foodborne illness is increased.
You can also freeze your rice balls if you’d like. They should defrost in the microwave in about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. You may need to reform them once they have been defrosted.
What to serve with
Feel free to enjoy jumeokbap by themselves if you’d like. But, if you’re feeling extra hungry, they pair great with spicy korean side dishes like kimchi, oi muchim (spicy cucumber salad) or mu saengchae (spicy radish salad).
Jumeokbap also works great as a picnic food alongside some sliced fruit, crunchy snacks and fun drinks all packed into a cute picnic basket.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between jumeokbap and onigiri?
Jumeokbap are Korean rice balls, while onigiri are Japanese rice balls. There are a few distinct differences between the two dishes.
Most notably, jumeokbap is shaped like a ball, while onigiri is typically shaped as a triangle. Jumeokbap is rolled in seaweed flakes or a seaweed seasoning, while onigiri is wrapped in a sheet of nori.
They are both stuffed with meat or vegetables or can be filled with rice only. Overall, they are quite similar with a few differences.
Are you supposed to eat rice balls hot or cold?
Korean rice balls or jumeokbap are meant to be served at room temperature. So the answer is somewhere in the middle.
Can I use regular rice for rice balls?
No. The type of rice matters when you make jumeokbap because the wrong kind of rice won’t stick together. Make sure you are using short-grain or medium-grain rice for this recipe. White rice also works better than brown rice.
Korean Seaweed Rice Balls (Jumeokbap)
- 1 cup cooked short-grain white rice
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 ounces canned tuna drained
- 1 tbsp Japanese mayo "kewpie"
- 2 tbsp furikake seasoning
- In a large mixing bowl, add the room temperature cooked rice. Drizzle the sesame oil over the rice and use a rice paddle fold until the rice is evenly coated.
- Add the canned tuna and Japanese mayo, then mix to combine.
- On a small plate, add the furikake. Gently shake to evenly distribute the seasoning on the plate.
- Using a wet hand, a gloved hand, or use plastic wrap, add a large spoonful of the rice mixture. Use your hand to shape into a ball.
- Roll the ball in the furikake mixture until well coated. Set aside on a plate and repeat until all the rice is formed into balls and coated with furikake.