Kimchi Ssambap (Kimchi Wrapped Rice Rolls)

DSC 0016 copy - Kimchi Ssambap (Kimchi Wrapped Rice Rolls)


Koreans make wraps (ssam 쌈) with all kinds of fresh and cooked leafy vegetables — lettuce, perilla leaves, zucchini leaves and cabbages, to name a few. Kimchi is no exception. When pogi kimchi reaches its tangy, sour stage, it’s very tasty as a wrap for meat, rice and other fillings.

Kimchi ssambap  (김치 쌈밥) is rice wrapped in kimchi. To use kimchi as a wrap, simply squeeze out the liquid from the kimchi. You can rinse in water first and then squeeze for a milder taste, especially if your kimchi is very sour. Kimchi can be served separately so each person can make his/her own wraps at the table, or you can serve pre-wrapped as this recipe shows.

The rice can be in any form. This recipe is made with fried rice. Also try it with rice that’s simply seasoned with some sesame oil, soy sauce and/or salt, and sesame seeds. Sometimes, I enjoy kimchi wraps with plain rice and a dollop of gochujang.

A little extra effort to wrap the rice in tangy, crunch kimchi turns the ordinary rice into something much more interesting and delicious. It’s a little extra love that makes all the difference. These are portable so ideal for lunch boxes or picnic food.


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1/4 medium onion
1/2 small carrot
1/4 small green bell pepper
2 to 3 mushroom caps
3 ounces ground beef
oil to stir fry

(or use any other vegetables or meat of your choice)

2 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste

10 kimchi leafy parts (thick white parts removed)

Kimchi Ssambap recipe 2 - Kimchi Ssambap (Kimchi Wrapped Rice Rolls)

Finely chop the vegetables.

Kimchi Ssambap recipe 3 - Kimchi Ssambap (Kimchi Wrapped Rice Rolls)

Heat a lightly oiled pan over medium heat. Cook the ground beef, breaking up into small pieces, until it turns brown, about 2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of the oil and the vegetables. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 2 minutes.

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Add the rice and soy sauce. Stir-fry until all the ingredients are evenly distributed, and the clumped up rice is broken up, 2 to 3 minutes. Lightly season with salt and pepper (remember kimchi is salty). Stir in the sesame oil and seeds at the end.

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When the fried rice is cool enough to handle, make small rolls by pressing between your palms. The size of the rolls should depend on the size of your kimchi.

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Place a kimchi leaf on a cutting board. Lay a rice ball near the cut part of the kimchi. Wrap the kimchi around the rice roll, folding in the sides. Roll up all the way. Repeat until all the rice or kimchi is used up.

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Kimchi Ssambap recipe 8 - Kimchi Ssambap (Kimchi Wrapped Rice Rolls)

Leave a Comment



  1. This looks so delicious. Can you make the dish in advance and bring it to a potluck or will it get all soggy from the Kimchi?

  2. ElectricBlues says

    Hyosun Ro,

    I really enjoy all of your recipes!!! I lived in Korea for almost two years and now that I am back in the States, I miss the food so much! I have one general question for you. It is just me cooking and eating, I wondered how long do most of your items keep? More specifically the banchans you create.
    Thank you in advance!

    • Hyosun Ro says

      It really depends on what it is. Most of the dishes should be fine in the fridge up to 4 to 5 days. Some basic dishes, such as jangjorim (soy braised beef), are prepared to last longer. Of course, kimchi or pickled dishes last weeks or months. You can always cut the recipes in half as well. Hope this helps, but if you have further questions, please let me know.

  3. Anonymous says

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! It looks delicious, like all the recipes in this blog! The ones on the green plate looks different from the other ones, are these made using non-kimchi cabbage? Also, how is this eaten, is it handled with your fingers…I just imagine the kimchi must be wet somewhat, but can’t imagine eating with utensils.

    • Hyosun Ro says

      Thank you for the nice words! I mentioned in the head note that you can rinse kimchi in water first for a milder taste. The last photo shows rice wrapped in rinsed kimchi.

      We Koreans usually pick it up with chopsticks and bite off, but if you’re not used to that, you can use a fork and knife. The ones made with rinsed kimchi can be handled with your fingers.

  4. Anonymous says

    I love Kimchi,what a great idea! Wish I had thought of it.Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hana Yi says

    I like your blog very much.
    I am just wondering where 갈치찌개 recipe.
    I am looking and looking but can’t find it.
    Thank you.

    • Hyosun Ro says

      Thank you, Hana! I don’t have any galchi recipe on the blog yet. Hope to have one soon.

  6. Anonymous says

    Looks delicious and a great idea for summer eating! Could you please tell me which brand of Korean red pepper powder (both coarse and fine) you recommend? Also, most of the Korean brands are actually made with chilies from China. The pepper powders with chilies actually grown in Korea are pretty expensive. Is there a big difference in taste between the two?
    Thanks so much.
    I know you work full time, but I’m still really hoping you publish a cookbook!


    • Hyosun Ro says

      When it comes to gochugaru, the quality is extremely important for flavor and color, especially for kimchi. We Korean cooks always look for the best gochugaru around. It’s definitely worth paying premium, as long as it doesn’t break the bank. It seems expensive but one bag goes a long way. Last long in the freezer. Hard to say which brand. They vary widely depending on where you are. I usually get the ones by various farmers associations (NongHyup -농협). Those are usually also labeled as certified by HACCP. Hope this helps.

      I hope so too. Any publisher out there reading this?? Ha ha.

      Thanks, Courtney! Happy Korean cooking!

    • Anonymous says

      Thanks so much for the advice. Actually, I live in Maryland and do most of my Korean shopping in Ellicott City, Catonsville, and sometimes Annandale/northern VA, so if you have a brand you really like I should be able to find it in my travels.

  7. Looks so yummy. I appreciate your step by step instructions and pictures. I have recommended your site to many friends and even some strangers at Trader Joe’s b/c theylooked desperate when told the kimchi was sold out.

  8. wow it looks so tempting and delicious.