Spam Gimbap (Seaweed Rice Rolls)

Difficulty Easy

A super simple Korean Gimbap recipe with Spam? Yes, please! Spam Gimbap is the perfect Korean snack, appetizer, side dish, or main meal. Rolled into a sheet of Nori and brushed with sesame oil, these Korean seaweed rice rolls are easy to make and taste so good. Make for the kids or enjoy a big platter by yourself. YUM!

What is Spam Gimbap?

Spam Gimbap is a kind of Gimbap (Kimbap) — a popular Korean snack, side, main, or picnic item — that highlights the delicious flavor of salty, savory Spam. Combined with tangy pickled daikon, crunchy cucumber, and perilla leaves — it’s got freshness, crunch, and a delicious combination of salty and sour.

Similar to sushi, Gimbap consists of rice and nori rolled together. However, unlike sushi, it does not contain raw fish. Instead, it contains a variety of colorful fillings that look very pretty on a platter. Classic fillings include spinach, carrot, burdock root, bulgogi, cooked egg strips, and pickled daikon.

Sometimes called a Seaweed Rice Roll, it’s a complete meal with protein, rice, and vegetables wrapped in one roll. In Korean cuisine, it’s an easy meal or on-the-go snack sold at convenience stores. Filling and nutritious, Gimbap is a popular packed lunch.

Different kinds of Gimbap: Spicy Tuna Gimbap, Egg Gimbap, Tofu Gimbap, Bulgogi Gimbap, Mini Gimbap, etc.!

My kids especially love Spam Gimbap. And honestly, I do, too! One of my favorite easy meals. Easy to assemble with the rich, porky flavor of Spam. Enjoy!

spam gimbap on a white plat

Ingredients

A minimal list of ingredients makes this Gimbap recipe especially easy:

  • Spam. A canned pork product that is full of salty, savory flavor.
  • Rice. Short grain rice (also called sushi rice) is sticky and will make rolling the Gimbap easier.
  • Nori Sheets. A large sheet of seaweed holds everything together. At the Asian grocery store, there are different kinds. Korean brands are seasoned with salt but are also more fragile. Japanese brands are not seasoned (no salt) but are sturdier. Either option works great.
    • FYI: Nori has two sides — a flat, shiny side and a rough side. Make sure to place the flat side down so the ingredients can be added to the rough side. It will stick better and prevent tearing.
  • Pickled Daikon. Also called Danmuji, they are bright yellow pickles that can be bought at the Korean market. The tangy, sour flavor balances Spam’s saltiness. The radish slices are a common ingredient in Korean Kimbap.
  • Cucumber. Adds freshness and crunch. I like mini, Curly, or Persian varieties because they contain less water and won’t make the Gimbap soggy.
  • Perilla Leaves. Adds freshness and earthy flavor. Can be swapped for green leaf lettuce.
  • Sesame oil. Brush with sesame oil at the end. You only need a little bit!
ingredients for Spam Gimbap

How to make Spam Kimbap

  1.  Cook Spam. Cut Spam into 1/4-inch thick strips, about the same size as the Pickled Daikon. Transfer to a non-stick pan. Pan fry over medium heat until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side. *There’s no need to add oil, as the Spam will release oil as it cooks.* Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the excess fat.
  2. Prep fillings. Cut the cucumber into thin strips. Arrange pickled daikon on a platter. Add white rice to a large bowl. Place perilla leaves on a platter.
  3. Assemble Gimbap. Add one Nori sheet (flat side down) on a clean cutting board. Using food preparation gloves, add rice on top of the seaweed. Spread the rice in a thin layer, to the edges, leaving a 1-inch border at the top. Spread rice as evenly as possible. Add the perilla or lettuce leaves slightly below the center of the nori sheet. Add the rest of the fillings on top of the leaves: spam, pickled daikon, and cucumber.
  4. *Note: For a stronger Spam flavor, add 4 total pieces of Spam. For a milder Spam flavor, add 2 total pieces.
  5. Roll Gimbap. Gently grab the bottom edge of the Nori sheet and roll it over, making sure all the fillings fit neatly inside the first roll. Continue rolling to the top edge of the Nori. Smear a little rice to the top edge or the Nori so it will act like “glue” and bind the roll together.
  6. Brush with sesame oil. Brush all over with a little sesame oil. Use a pastry brush or your hands.
  7. Serve. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange on a platter. Enjoy.

PRO Tips

  • Use rice as “glue.” The cooked rice is very sticky. Smear a little bit of rice to the top edge of the Nori so it will stick to the rest of the roll.
  • Use slightly warm rice. For best results, use freshly cooked rice that is slightly cooled. But even leftover rice works, as long as it’s slightly warm.
  •  Food prep gloves make assembly easier. Disposable gloves will make spreading the rice easier, as it can be quite sticky. Otherwise, keep a small bowl of water nearby. Dip your fingers into the water so the rice doesn’t stick to your hands.
  • Use a sharp knife. For a pretty presentation and to make slicing easier. Otherwise, it will create ragged edges on the Kimbap roll.

What to serve with Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls

Korean Kimbap is a complete meal in one roll. You don’t really need any other accompaniments. That’s what makes it a great snack or light meal.

Sometimes, Gimbap is eaten with Fish Cake Broth or Tteokbokki. You can dip the rolls into the salty soup or saucy, spicy tteokbokki sauce.

In my home, I like to serve with homemade Miso Soup. The combination of hot soup and Gimbap is very nourishing and comforting.

Top down shot of Korean Spam Gimbap

FAQ

How do I store leftovers?

Spam Gimbap tastes best the day it’s made. Otherwise, the rice will become too hard.

More recipes with Spam

platter filled with Spam Gimbap or Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls

Spam Gimbap Recipe (Korea Seaweed Rice Rolls)

Lis Lam
A super simple Korean Gimbap recipe with Spam? Yes, please! Spam Gimbap is the perfect Korean snack, appetizer, side dish, or main meal. Rolled into a sheet of Nori and brushed with sesame oil, these Korean seaweed rice rolls are easy to make and taste so good. Make for the kids or enjoy a big platter by yourself. YUM!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 24 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Korean
Servings 6 rolls
Calories 285 kcal

Equipment

  • Non-stick Skillet
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • Food service gloves *makes assembly easier

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can Spam
  • 6 strips pickled daikon
  • 6 sheets Nori
  • 2 mini cucumbers
  • 12 Perilla leaves
  • 4 cups cooked white rice *preferably sushi rice or small-grain rice

Instructions
 

  • Cook Spam. Cut Spam into 1/4-inch thick strips, about the same size as the Pickled Daikon. Transfer to a non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side. *There's no need to add oil, as the Spam will release oil as it cooks.* Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  • Prep fillings. Cut the cucumber into thin strips. Arrange pickled daikon on a platter. Add white rice to a large bowl. Place perilla leaves on a platter.
  • Assemble Gimbap. Add one Nori sheet (flat side down) on a clean cutting board. Using food preparation gloves, add 3/4 cup cooked rice. Spread the rice to the edges of the Nori, leaving a 1-inch border at the top. Spread rice as evenly as possible. Add the perilla or lettuce leaves slightly below the center of the nori sheet. Add the rest of the fillings on top of the leaves: spam, pickled daikon, and cucumber.
  • *Note: For a stronger Spam flavor, add 4 total pieces of Spam. For a milder Spam flavor, add 2 total pieces.
  • Roll Gimbap. Gently grab the bottom edge of the Nori sheet and roll it over, making sure all the fillings fit neatly inside the first roll. Continue rolling to the top edge of the Nori. Smear a little rice to the top edge or the Nori so it will act like "glue" and bind the roll together.
  • Brush with sesame oil. Brush all over with a little sesame oil. Use a pastry brush or your hands.
  • Serve. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange on a platter. Enjoy.

Video

Notes

PRO Tips:
    • Use rice as “glue.” The cooked rice is very sticky. Smear a little bit of rice to the top edge of the Nori so it will stick to the rest of the roll.
  •  
    • Use slightly warm rice. For best results, use freshly cooked rice that is slightly cooled. But even leftover rice works, as long as it’s slightly warm.
    •  Food prep gloves make assembly easier. Disposable gloves will make spreading the rice easier, as it can be quite sticky. Otherwise, keep a small bowl of water nearby. Dip your fingers into the water so the rice doesn’t stick to your hands.
    • Use a sharp knife. For a pretty presentation and to make slicing easier. Otherwise, it will create ragged edges on the Gimbap.

Nutrition

Calories: 285kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 10gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 802mgPotassium: 298mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 155IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Gimbap, Rice, Seaweed, Spam
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15 minutes, All Recipes, Appetizer, Breakfast + Brunch, Dinner with Friends, Game Day Food, Holiday, Korean, Main, Pork, Potluck, Rice, Side, Snacks, Weeknight Meals

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