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Gimbap: Korean beef sushi rolls

08 September 2016

A classic Korean recipe for gimbap, or rolled sushi rice with a minced beef filling.

Gimbap (Korean beef sushi)

Preparation time

30 minutes

Cooking time

25 minutes




  • 150g (5½oz/²⁄³ cup) sushi rice
  • 4 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 red (bell) pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 100g (3½oz) spinach
  • 2.5cm (1in) ginger, finely chopped
  • 100g (3½oz) minced beef
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sheets gim
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced into strips


Add the rice to a pan of boiling salted water and boil for 12–13 minutes before draining it well. Return the drained rice to the pan, cover and allow to steam dry for a further 20 minutes (off the heat).

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a large frying pan and add the pepper. Fry for 6–7 minutes over a low heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Season well with salt, then set aside.

In the same frying pan, heat another tablespoon of sesame oil with half of the chopped garlic. Add the spinach and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes until just wilted. Season well with salt, and set aside with the pepper.

Heat another tablespoon of the sesame oil in the same frying pan, and add the remaining half of the garlic and chopped ginger. Add the minced beef, and stir-fry for 5–6 minutes until broken up and cooked through. Season with the soy sauce and freshly ground pepper and set aside.

Stir a pinch of salt and the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil through the hot rice.

To make the gimbap, place a sheet of gim on a sushi rolling mat, shiny side down. Spread over half the rice, leaving a 5-cm (2-in) border on one side, and pat it down well with the back of a spoon. In alternate lines, vertical to the border, place lines of the avocado, red pepper, spinach and minced beef.

Turn the rolling mat so that the 5-cm (2-in) border is furthest away from you. Carefully, roll the seaweed up in the mat to form a cylinder, pressing the rice together through the mat. Finish by rolling the rice log over onto the border to seal.

Place the rolls on a chopping board, and cut into 2–3-cm (¾–1-in) slices with a very sharp knife. Eat immediately, or cover and refrigerate.

Alphabet Cooking: K is for Korean (Quadrille, £12) Photography Kim Lightbody

Visit our Asian recipes section for more Korean, Japanese and Chinese recipe ideas

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.