Kimchi Jumeok Bap (Korean Rice Balls)

Difficulty Easy

Another delicious rice dish: Korean Rice Balls or Kimchi Jumeok Bap! All the delicious flavor of kimchi. All the fun and gratifying texture of rice balls. A quick snack, popular side dish, and favorite picnic food item. YUM!

What are Korean Rice Balls or Jumeok Bap?

Korean Rice Balls, also called Jumeok Bap, is a popular Korean snack, side dish, or lunch box item. Best described as a savory rice ball, it’s rice that’s heavily seasoned and shaped into a compact ball.

Kimchi Jumeok Bap is seasoned with kimchi — for umami-packed kimchi flavor. Old kimchi is cooked with a little sugar and gochujang (Korean chili paste). Then mixed with white rice and shaped into simple rice balls. YUM!

The best part of Jumeok Bap? They are texturally satisfying and pleasurable to eat. And fun!

Rolling rice into compact balls completely changes the texture. The densely packed rice creates a more toothsome and hearty bite. Individual grains of rice are pressed tightly together — creating a chunky morsel of rice that’s very satisfying to eat. YUM!

The Korean word, “Jumeok” means fist. “Bap” means rice. Jumeok Bap means a rice ball about the same size as a closed fist. But you can make Jumeok Bap any size you like! Or even Triangle Rice Balls.

Korean Rice Balls are one of my favorite easy meals. They make a delicious snack for movie night, too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Short-Grain Rice. Also called sushi rice. Short-grain rice is sticky and perfect for rolling into Korean rice balls. (And Gimbap!)
  • Kimchi + Kimchi Juice. Adds lots of flavor and probiotic goodness.
  • Gochujang + Fish Sauce. The easy flavor boosters.
  • Sugar. A little sweetness to round out the acidic bite of kimchi.
  • Sesame seeds. Adds lots of texture and flavor.
  • Sesame oil. Don’t add too much, as it can make the Jumeok Bap less sticky!
  • Roasted Seaweed. Typically, roasted seaweed (Gim) is added to Korean rice balls. Swap with furikake if you don’t have it. A generous sprinkling of Furikake adds tons of flavor. Also, texture! Furikake is a Japanese condiment made with nori, sesame seeds, salt, and a variety of other dried ingredients. My favorite kind (Seto Fumi) includes bonito flakes and dried egg yolk. Delicious!

Instructions:

  1. Chop kimchi. Place kimchi in a small bowl. Using kitchen scissors, snip into small 1/4-inch pieces. Make sure there are no big chunks of kimchi or else the individual rice ball will fall apart.
  2. Cook kimchi. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add a little cooking oil (1-2 tsp). When the pan is hot, add kimchi, kimchi juice, gochujang, and sugar. Cook until soft, caramelized, and dark orange in color — about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix rice and seasonings. To a large bowl, add cooked rice, cooked kimchi, sesame seeds, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Using disposable food service gloves, mix well. The kimchi and rice should be uniform in color. Taste and season with more fish sauce, sugar, and salt (if needed).
  4. Roll into balls. Time to make Jumeok Bap! Using disposable food service gloves, roll the rice into same-sized balls. Make sure to press tightly with both hands. *If you like, use a cookie scoop to create uniform sized rice balls.
  5. Serve. Roll in furikake. Sprinkle more on top. Enjoy!

PRO Tips:

  • Use disposable food service gloves. Short grain rice is very sticky. Disposable food service gloves prevent rice from sticking everywhere! If you don’t own them, liberally wet your clean hands with water. Prep a small bowl of water next to you and rub palms with water before and during rolling.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning. Kimchi is a fermented food product and tastes slightly different depending on it’s ripeness and age. To ensure good tasting Kimchi Jumeok Bap, taste and adjust the seasoning. If it tastes flat, add more fish sauce and salt. If it’s too spicy, add a pinch of sugar.
  • Chop kimchi with kitchen scissors. A Korean tip that makes chopping kimchi easier and less messy. Also avoids the hassle of washing the cutting board afterwards.
  • Don’t be afraid to press the rice balls together! The rice balls stick together better when compacted tightly. Cup and press into balls with the palms of your hands.

Help! Why won’t my rice balls stick together?

To make sure your Korean Rice Balls stick together, some suggestions:

  • Make sure to use short grain rice. Short grain rice, also called sushi rice, is essential. The short grains are plump and slightly sticky. Do not use long-grain rice — it’s too fluffy and won’t hold together! Medium grain rice may work, depending on the brand.
  • Wash rice sparingly. In Korean cuisine, rice is rinsed and washed several times before cooking in the rice cooker. This step removes the starch from the rice and produces a better overall texture. However, for Jumeok Bap — we want the rice to be slightly sticky and starchy. Do not rinse away all the starch! Instead, wash the rice only once or twice (instead of 3-5 times) so not all of the starch is removed.
  • Slightly warm rice works best. Warm rice sticks together better. I recommend freshly cooked white rice that’s cool enough to handle. A great leftover rice recipe, you can also use cold rice. Make sure it’s heated until slightly steaming.
  • Consider size. Although many Korean Dramas show Jumeok Bap as large as baseballs, I’ve found that smaller ones stick together better. For beginners, I recommend smaller rice balls. Try rolling small, golf ball-shaped ones first. As your confidence and skill level increase, make bigger ones.
  • Omit the sesame oil. You only need a small amount for fragrance. But if your rice balls are still falling apart, you may have added too much. Take out the sesame oil completely.

Variations:

  • Triangle (Samgak) Gimbap. Similar to Japanese onigiri, Samgak Gimbap is shaped into a triangle. Simply take the ingredients for Jumeok Bap and shape into a triangle for easier eating.
  • Cheese Cube. Add a cube of mozzarella cheese in the center. Spray all over with cooking oil and cook in a pre-heated Air Fryer at 320F for 8 minutes. The outside will be crispy with a gooey melted cheese surprise on the inside.

Other rice recipes:

several jumeok bap (korean rice balls) with furikake on top

Kimchi Jumeok Bap (Korean Rice Balls)

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Rice and kimchi lovers unite with another easy Korean classic: Kimchi Jumeok Bap! All the delicious flavor of kimchi. All the fun and gratifying texture of rice balls. A quick snack, popular side dish, and favorite picnic food item — Korean Rice Balls are easy to make and always tastes good!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Side, Snack
Cuisine Korean
Servings 7 medium rice balls
Calories 102 kcal

Equipment

  • non-stick pan
  • disposable food service gloves
  • large, shallow bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup kimchi + juice
  • 1-2 tsp Gochujang (Korean chili paste) (depending on spicyness preference)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups short grain rice (cooked)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • furikake *for serving

Instructions
 

  • Chop kimchi. Place kimchi in a small bowl. Using kitchen scissors, snip into small 1/4-inch pieces. Make sure there are no big chunks of kimchi or else the individual rice ball will fall apart.
  • Cook kimchi. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add a little cooking oil (1-2 tsp). When the pan is hot, add kimchi, kimchi juice, gochujang, and sugar. Cook until soft, caramelized, and dark orange in color — about 5 minutes.
  • Mix rice and seasonings. To a large bowl, add cooked rice, cooked kimchi, sesame seeds, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Using disposable food service gloves, mix well. The kimchi and rice should be uniform in color. Taste and season with more fish sauce, sugar, and salt (if needed).
  • Roll into balls. Time to make Jumeok Bap! Using disposable food service gloves, roll the rice into same-sized balls. Make sure to press tightly with both hands. *If you like, use a cookie scoop to create uniform sized rice balls.
  • Serve. Roll in furikake. Sprinkle more on top. Enjoy!

Notes

*Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. The rice will be hard so I recommend reheating in the Air Fryer (with a spray of oil) for 400F for 4 minutes. Leftover rice balls freeze well, up to 1 month, wrapped individually with plastic wrap and placed in a ziploc baggie. Reheat frozen Korean Rice Balls in the Air Fryer (with a spray of oil) at 400F for 8 minutes.
Tips:
  • Use disposable food service gloves. Short grain rice is very sticky. Disposable food service gloves prevent rice from sticking everywhere! If you don’t own them, liberally wet your clean hands with water. Prep a small bowl of water next to you and rub palms with water before and during rolling.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning. Kimchi is a fermented food product and tastes slightly different depending on it’s ripeness and age. To ensure good tasting Kimchi Jumeok Bap, taste and adjust the seasoning. If it tastes flat, add more fish sauce and salt. If it’s too spicy, add a pinch of sugar.
  • Chop kimchi with kitchen scissors. A Korean tip that makes chopping kimchi easier and less messy. Also avoids the hassle of washing the cutting board afterwards.
  • Don’t be afraid to press the rice balls together! The rice balls stick together better when compacted tightly. Cup and press into balls with the palms of your hands.

Nutrition

Calories: 102kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 2gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 153mgPotassium: 55mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 18IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Jumeok Bap, Kimchi, Rice Balls
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
30 minutes, All Recipes, Appetizer, Game Day Food, Gochujang, Kimchi, Korean, Rice, Side, Snacks, Weeknight Meals

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    So good! I found myself hungry for dinner awkwardly late, and decided to search around for some way to spice up my normal “have-no-energy-to-cook” riceballs. I’m so glad I did, because this was recipe was amazing – and so fast! The furikake sprinkled on top is a great touch. An actual lifesaver of a recipe that I plan to add to my rotation. Will definitely be checking out the rest of your site!

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