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Gimbap Recipe 6: Nude Gimbap

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kid friendly
prep time: 
30 min
inactive time: 
0 min
cooking time: 
50 min
total time: 
80 min

Nude gimbap refers to the format of gimbap featuring rice outside and seaweed inside. Regular gimbap has rice inside and seaweed outside. So this gimbap is like being naked, hence the name. In this recipe, rice is seasoned with sweet and sour mixture which is similar to Japanese sushi rolls. Traditionally rice in Korean gimbap is not seasoned or seasoned with just sesame oil and salt. But some Koreans today also enjoy gimbap with sweet and sour seasoning. You can substitute in and out of the ingredients to your preference. Just remember that Korean gimbap usually include danmuji (yellow pickled radish. The ingredients are seasoned since Korean gimbap is usually enjoyed without dipping sauce unlike Japanese sushi rolls.

For Koreans, gimbap is one of those foods that brings back warm and fuzzy memories. The nostalgia likely includes picnics and school field days, where gimbap was nearly essential. It also frequently shows up on birthday party tables. Although gimbap is closely associated with special occasions, it's also an everyday food pretty much seen everywhere, including convenience stores, service stations, cafeterias, and restaurants.

Gimbap has evolved quite a bit over the years. Back in the day when Koreans were poor, it was just seaweed and rice with maybe one vegetable. Today It is much more elaborate and nutritious. Gimbap to Koreans is like sandwiches to North Americans; it's very common, yet never gets old. On top of being delicious, it's nutritious, portable and versatile.

There are an infinite number of variations in gimbap. Sharing gimbap with friends at a school picnic was fun because each family adds a different twist, whether it's a special ingredient, unique shape or size. You can always make your own signature gimbap by adding your favorite ingredients or seasonings, or by making different shapes.

See other variations of gimbap:
Classic Gimbap
Petal Shape Gimbap recipe
Tuna Gimbap
Mini Mayak Gimbap
Kimchi Gimbap

Change serving size to: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Change to: Metric US
3 cupsRice, white short grain 쌀
6 sheetSeaweed for Gimbap (Korean rice roll) 김밥김 (unseasoned)
5 ozPickled Radish (Dan-mu-ji or Yellow Radish) 단무지
2 ozBurdock Root (Woo Ung) 우엉
4 ozCarrot (large Korean carrot) 당근
125 Cucumber 오이
Egg 계란 (omit or replace with sautéed mushrooms or avocado)
3 ozCrab Meat (Imitation) 맛살 (omit for vegetarians)
3 tbsSoy Sauce (regular) 왜간장
1 tbsSugar 설탕
2⅔ tbsSesame Oil 참기름
pinch Black Pepper 후추 (or Jo-cheong/Rice Syrup, can use sugar instead)
1 tspMul Yeot / Malt (Maltose) Syrup 물엿
⅔ tspSalt 소금
1 tspVegetable Oil 식용유

seasoning for rice

⅓ cupVinegar 식초
3 tbsSugar 설탕
1 tbsSalt 소금 (or regular sesame seeds)
6 tbsBlack Sesame Seeds 검은깨
Ingredients Notes: 

*The default serving of this recipe is set to 3. For this recipe, 3 servings refer to about 6 rolls of gimbap. Please note that ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.

kitchen tools
- 1 bamboo mat for rolling
- 1 small to medium pot or rice cooker for rice
- 1 large bowl to mix up rice
- 1 sauce pan for braising burdock root
- 1 small to medium pan for sautéing carrots
- 1 small to medium non-stick pan for eggs

Buy gimbap ingredients online here.


Optional Ingredients and Substitution
-There is no set of rules for gimbap ingredients. You can substitute most ingredients with your favorite ingredients. However, danmuji (yellow pickled radish) is key to authentic Korean gimbap. Season the ingredients with sesame oil and either salt or soy sauce unless it's already salty without any seasoning (e.g., crab meat).

Whatever you use, ensure they don't produce liquid. The liquid will go through the rice and leak out or make the roll soggy. Remove moisture by squeezing with hands or by pat-drying with clean towel. If you must use moist ingredients, place them on top of perilla leaves or something else that acts as a barrier between the rice and the ingredient.

Most common ingredients used in gimbap in Korea include danmuji (yellow pickled radish), spinach, cucumber, carrot, perilla leaf, burdock root, crab meat, fish cake, egg, beef, cheese, ham, beef, kimchi, tuna mixed with mayo, etc.

-You can season rice with just sesame oil and salt instead of vinegar and sugar mix if you don't like sweet and sour taste.

Good to Know
Size and flavor of gimbap
You can make various shape and size of gimbap.
To make gimbap smaller and also more flavorful, make the rice layer as thin as possible.

Gimbap tastes best when it's freshly made. In room temperature, it can last 4-6 hours. In a hot summer day, it may only last an hour or two.

The leftover ingredients may last a day or two with an exception of seasoned spinach. Make sure you don't put all the ingredients in the same container or at least use cling wrap or aluminum foil as dividers so they are not touching each other. Seasoned spinach is delicious but doesn't last as long as other ingredients. For this reason, some people prefer cucumber over spinach in their gimbap.

More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comment section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.

Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.

1. Prepare rice

Wash 3 cups of short grain rice twice and drain all the water. Add water (3 cups for electronic rice cooker or 4 cups for regular pot) to the rice and add 2 (2”X2”) pieces of kelp in the water. After 30 minutes, remove kelp but leave rice and water. Kelp water apparently prevents rice from drying up and helps rice stick to the seaweed better. But, you can omit kelp if you don’t have any.

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Wash & drain

  • 3 cups rice

Add 3 cups water (for rice cooker)

Soak 2 pieces kelp image: clock.png Remove minkelp

2. Cook rice

Cook rice. For detailed instructions, see how to cook rice in a rice cooker and how to cook rice in a pot .

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Cook rice

3. Prepare burdock root

Peel and rinse 2.5 oz (70 g) of burdock root. Cut into thin strips.

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Peel & Rinse

  • 2.5 oz (70g) burdock root

Cut into strips

4. Soak burdock root

Soak the burdock root strips in 1 cup water and 1 tbs vinegar for 30 minutes.

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Soak burdock root

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbs vinegar

image: clock.png 30 min

5. Blanch burdock root

Boil 2 cups of water. Blanch the burdock roots in boiling water for 3 minutes.

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Boil 2 cups water

Blanch burdock root image: clock.png 3 min

6. Braise burdock root

In a sauce pan, mix ⅓ cup water, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sugar and add burdock root in the pan. Cook uncovered on medium heat.

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  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sugar


  • burdock root

Cook uncovered

Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 7 min

7. Braise II

When the liquid is almost gone, add 1 teaspoons of mulyeot (Korean malt syrup) or jocheong (rice syrup). If you don’t have mulyeot, just add a little more sugar or sugar substitute.

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  • 1 tsp mulyeot or jocheong

8. Prepare carrot

Peel and rinse a carrot. Cut 3.5oz (100g) of carrot (about ⅓ large Korean carrot) into long ¼” thick strips. If you are using smaller carrots, just cut into shorter strips. You will just have to add a few more when making a roll.

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Peel & rinse

  • 3.5oz (100g) carrot

Cut into

  • long ¼” strips

9. Cook carrot

Preheat a pan with 1 tsp vegetable oil on medium heat. Sauté carrots on medium heat for 2 min or until they are cooked (not crunchy any more).”

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Preheat pan

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 1 min

Sauté carrots

Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 2 min

10. Prepare eggs

Beat 3 eggs with an added pinch of salt and black pepper. Preheat a pan with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil on medium heat for a min.

Pour the beat eggs and cook until all the eggs are fully cooked. Let it cool on the side.

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Beat 3 eggs

  • a pinch salt
  • a pinch black pepper

Preheat pan

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 1 min

11. Cut eggs

Once the eggs have cooled, cut into ½” thick strips.

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Once cooled

Cut eggs

into ½” thick strips

12. Cut danmuji

Rinse danmuji yellow pickled radish) with water. Pat-dry with paper towel. Cut 5oz (150g) of danmuji into ½” thick strips.

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Rinse danmuji

Pat-dry with paper towel

Cut 5oz (150g) danmuji

into ½” thick strips

13. Cut crab meat

Tear imitation crab meat into ¼” thick strips. Korean imitation crab meat comes in perfect length for gimbap and they are usually individually wrapped. Some people like to cook the crab meat in a pan for a minute to enhance the flavor but it’s optional.

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Tear crab meat

into ¼” thick

14. Cut cucumber

Wash and peel cucumber, leaving some skin for color. Cut 4.4oz (125g) of cucumber into ¼” thick and 9” long strips. (You can use a few shorter ones instead if you don’t have a whole cucumber.) Don’t use the middle part containing seeds. (optional - you can sprinkle some salt on the cucumber strips and leave it for 10 min. Then, pat-dry to remove moisture.)

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Wash & peel cucumber

Cut 4.4oz (125g)

into ½” thick strips

Sprinkle with salt

Leave image: clock.png 10 min

Pat-dry with paper towel

15. Roast seaweed (optional)

If the seaweed you got is not pre-roasted, you can roast in a pan. Roasting removes dampness and fishy smell from the seaweed. Cook each side of the seaweed in a pan on medium heat for a few seconds only. Do not over-cook. The seaweed will get crunchy and break apart. Do not use any oil.

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Cook each side seaweed

in a pan

Med Heat image: medheat.png a few seconds

16. Cut seaweed

Cut ⅓ of the seaweed and use the ⅔. You can use the small piece to make mini gimbap.

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Cut ⅓ of the seaweed

17. Make rice seasoning

In a small pot, mix ⅓ cup of vinegar, 3 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of salt. Place the pot on low heat and stir the mix until all sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Let it cool for 10-20 min.

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  • ⅓ cup vinegar
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs slat

Dissolve on low heat

Let it cool image: clock.png 15 min

18. Season rice

Season cooked rice with the rice seasoning. Gently mix the rice with a spatula without squashing the rice. Mix it around until it’s cool enough to touch with bare hands. You want the rice to be a bit warm when you are making the roll.

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Season rice

with seasoning

Gently mix

19. Spread rice on seaweed

Tightly wrap the bamboo mat with cling wrap. This will prevent rice from sticking to the mat. Place the seaweed on a bamboo mat, rough side up. Thinly spread rice over the seaweed. Lightly wet your hand if rice sticks to your hands. Sprinkle black sesame seeds all over. This will further prevent rice from sticking to the mat.

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20. Add ingredients

Flip the seaweed so the rice side is at the bottom. Add all the ingredients in the center of the seaweed.

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Flip seaweed

Add ingredients

21. Roll I

Tightly roll the seaweed so the end close to you meets the seaweed securing the ingredients with your fingers. Do not roll all the way. Gently squeeze along the roll a few times.

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Roll the seaweed

Gently squeeze

22. Roll II

Bring the whole roll up to the end of the bamboo mat. This time roll all the way. Gently squeeze along the roll a few times. Form the roll into a square shape by pressing the two sides and the top with fingers at the same time (OPTIONAL).

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Roll to the end of the mat

Roll all the way

Form into square shape

23. Cut

Prepare a clean sharp knife and a clean wet towel. Wipe both sides of the knife with the wet towel. Start cutting the roll into ¾” thick sections. Do not press down too hard with the knife as the roll will be crushed. Use front and back motion repeatedly when cutting just like cutting bread.

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Cut into ¾” thick

24. Slice danmuji

Slice danmuji (yellow pickled radish) into ⅛” thick half moon shape to serve it on the side with gimbap.

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Slice danmuji

⅛” thick half moon shape

25. Serve

Arrange on a plate or in a lunch box. Serve with danmuji on the side. Enjoy!

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Serve on a plate

with danmuji on the side