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      Spicy Tuna Kimbap (Quick & Easy Recipe)

      If you love Trader Joe’s kimbap, you need to try this spicy tuna kimbap. This delicious seaweed rice roll is packed with flavor as well as protein. The perfect work lunch or afternoon snack!

      tuna kimbap

      What is kimbap?

      Kimbap or gimbap is a popular Korean dish consisting of cooked rice, vegetables and protein wrapped in gim (dried sheets of seaweed). There are different kinds of kimbap depending on what is used as the fillings. Some popular varieties include:

      • Bulgogi kimbap (marinated beef)
      • Chamchi kimbap (tuna)
      • Kimchi kimbap (fermented spicy cabbage)

      These rice rolls are similar to Japanese sushi, but differ for a few reasons. The seasoning used to flavor the rice is slightly different and the fillings are different. Kimbap typically includes pickled yellow radish and braised burdock root for example.

      Origins

      There are two theories as to the origin of kimbap in Korea. Some believe kimbap is an adaptation of the sushi introduced during Japanese colonialism. Others argue kimbap is a modern version of bok-ssam (pork wraps) from the Josean era.

      Nowadays, kimbap is a popular Korean food that you can find in restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores. The popularity of gimbap has increased and can now be found in Europe and the Americas.

      Ingredients for Tuna Kimbap

      The ingredients for this tuna gimbap are listed below along with possible alternatives. For the best results, I recommend sticking to the original ingredients.

      IngredientsSubstitutions
      White short grain riceWhite medium grain rice, brown short grain rice, brown medium grain rice
      Salt
      Sesame oil
      GimNori sheet
      Perilla leavesRomaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, other greens
      Canned tuna, spicyRegular canned tuna
      Japanese mayo (Kewpie)Regular mayonnaise
      Yellow pickled radishPickled carrots, plain Korean radish
      Braised burdock rootBraised tofu
      Sesame seeds (optional)
      Soy sauce, for dipping (optional)Tamari, liquid aminos, coconut aminos

      Where to buy

      The ingredients for this recipe likely won’t be available at your local grocery store. You will need to venture to your nearest Asian grocery store or purchase these items online.

      The following items should be purchased from an Asian grocery store (ideally a Korean grocery store): perilla leaves, spicy canned tuna, kewpie mayo, yellow pickled radish and braised burdock root.

      tuna kimbap

      How to make Tuna Kimbap

      First, prepare your rice according to the package instructions or rice cooker instructions. The end result should be about two cups of cooked rice.

      Add the sesame oil and salt to the cooked rice while still hot and thoroughly combine using a rice paddle. In a small bowl, combine the canned tuna and kewpie mayo. Stir to combine.

      Once the rice is room temperature, place a sheet of gim (shiny side down) on a bamboo mat or clean flat surface.

      Add about a cup of cooked sushi rice on top of the seaweed. Leave about a 2-inch border near the end of the seaweed.

      Then add two perilla leaves towards the edge without the border. Add two spoonfuls of the tuna mixture, two pieces of yellow pickled radish and one piece of braised burdock root on top of the perilla.

      Use the bamboo mat or your hands to roll the edge of the sheet over the fillings. Gently press to condense the fillings and continue rolling into a tight roll. Before you finish the roll, gently wet the border of the sheet. This will help the edge stick to the rest of the roll.

      Transfer to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut the kimbap into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with soy sauce for dipping.

      How to store the leftovers

      If you have any leftover kimbap, store them in an airtight container. They should last in the refrigerator for about 2-3 days before going bad. Make sure to transfer them to the refrigerator within 1-2 hours of preparing them to help prevent foodborne illness.

      tuna kimbap

      Frequently Asked Questions

      What’s the difference between kimbap and gimbap?

      Kimbap and gimbap are actually the same thing and can be used interchangeably. In fact, if you say them out loud, they essentially sound like the same word.

      Both are simply phonetic spellings of the Korean word, which is why they are used interchangeably. The true pronunciation of the word is somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately I do not speak Korean so it’s best to speak to a native speaker if you want the true pronunciation.

      Which is healthier, kimbap or sushi?

      Kimbap and sushi are very similar, so I wouldn’t say one is “healthier” than the other. What it really comes down to is the fillings. Some sushi or gimbap fillings are more nutritious than others.

      For example, sushi with cream cheese can be high in saturated fat which may have a negative impact on heart health. Along with this, sushi is slightly higher in added sugar since rice seasoning contains sugar.

      Kimbap is also typically bigger (more fillings) and therefore more calories. While sushi rolls, especially those covered in spicy mayo and fried onion, can be high in calories, there are plenty of low calorie vegetable rolls to choose from.

      What do you eat with kimbap?

      Kimbap can be eaten by itself or alongside another side dish or two, aka banchan. Examples of banchan include kimchi, seasoned soybean sprouts, seasoned spinach, spicy cucumber salad or spicy radish salad.

      They are also the perfect light meal for road trips since you can eat them with your fingers. Along with this, they are a great addition to a lunch box, whether it’s to pack for school or for work.

      Why does my kimbap fall apart?

      There are a few reasons your kimbap may be falling apart. Firstly, you need to be using short-grain or medium-grain rice to make your kimbap roll. Long-grain rice does not stick together and will fall apart easily.

      Along with this, you need to roll your gimbap nice and tight. On your first roll, gently press to condense the fillings and ensure there are no gaps. If there is gaps, you will find your ingredients falling out of the roll in every direction.

      tuna kimbap

      Spicy Tuna Kimbap (Quick & Easy Recipe)

      If you love Trader Joe’s kimbap, you need to try this spicy tuna kimbap. This delicious seaweed rice roll is packed with flavor as well as protein. The perfect work lunch or afternoon snack!
      Prep Time 10 minutes
      Cook Time 15 minutes
      Total Time 25 minutes
      Course Main Course
      Cuisine korean
      Servings 2 rolls

      Ingredients
        

      • 2 cups cooked short-grain rice (2/3 cup uncooked rice)
      • 1 tbsp sesame oil
      • 1/8 tsp salt
      • 2 sheets gim (nori)
      • 4 perilla leaves
      • 1/2 can spicy Korean tuna
      • 1/2 tbsp kewpie mayo
      • 4 strips yellow pickled radish
      • 2 strips braised burdock root

      Instructions
       

      • First, prepare your rice according to the package instructions or rice cooker instructions. The end result should be about two cups of cooked rice.
      • Add the sesame oil and salt to the cooked rice while still hot and thoroughly combine using a rice paddle. In a small bowl, combine the canned tuna and kewpie mayo. Stir to combine.
      • Once the rice is room temperature, place a sheet of gim (shiny side down) on a bamboo mat or clean flat surface.
      • Add about a cup of cooked sushi rice on top of the seaweed. Leave about a 2-inch border near the end of the seaweed.
      • Then add two perilla leaves towards the edge without the border. Add two spoonfuls of the tuna mixture, two pieces of yellow pickled radish and one piece of braised burdock root on top of the perilla.
      • Use the bamboo mat or your hands to roll the edge of the sheet over the fillings. Gently press to condense the fillings and continue rolling into a tight roll. Before you finish the roll, gently wet the border of the sheet. This will help the edge stick to the rest of the roll.
      • Transfer to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut the kimbap into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with soy sauce for dipping.

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      tia glover rd

      My name is Tia and I am a registered dietitian and content creator.

      My goal is to help young people learn how to eat a nutritious, balanced diet without restriction or giving up cultural foods. 💛

      Hapa/Japanese American 🇺🇸🇯🇵

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